NEW YORK — Liberty Media on Tuesday exercised the right to purchase $500 million worth of News Corp.’s American depositary receipts — the equivalent of shares for foreign companies that trade on New York Stock Exchange — to help Rupert Murdoch’s conglom finance its upcoming acquisition of DirecTV.
John Malone’s Liberty can buy the preferred ADRs at $21.95 each. They closed Tuesday at $27.29. The transaction is expected to close in two weeks.
Liberty acquired the right to purchase the shares in March as part of an agreement to help News Corp. raise cash to buy DirecTV parent Hughes Electronics/DirecTV. That arrangement said Liberty had six months to exercise the right or News Corp. could force it to do so if the DirecTV deal was pending.
Liberty already owns more than 18% of News Corp. — in nonvoting stock — and this investment will boost its stake even higher.
News Corp. and Hughes parent General Motors are awaiting regulatory approval for the deal. Management has been busy in past weeks outlining for Wall Street and GM/Hughes shareholders the benefits of the pact, which would see DirecTV merged into News Corp.’s Fox Entertainment subsid.