×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Malone’s making News

Topper in a swap mood

Wall Street mavens and people inside News Corp. are wondering: What is John Malone up to?

Liberty Media, Malone’s holding company, announced Wednesday a so-called total return swap arrangement with Merrill Lynch under which the investment house may sell 85 million voting shares of News Corp. to Liberty next April.

That’s about 8% of the voting interest, which Liberty would add to the 9% of News Corp. it acquired in January.

Deal with Merrill allows Liberty to reap the benefits of owning a large chunk of News Corp. stock without actually putting up any money now. It is especially beneficial for Liberty if News Corp. stock rises between now and April.

Under the deal, which involves 84.7 million shares of News Corp. Class B stock, Liberty must pay Merrill the difference between today’s price of approximately $17.50 per share and whatever the stock is selling for in April if the price goes down. If the price goes up, Merrill must pay Liberty the difference. Liberty also has to pay interest to Merrill on the value of the shares, which are worth about $1.47 billion.

In addition, Liberty has the option to purchase the shares outright from the investment house next April.

As with Liberty’s previous share purchase in January, News Corp. topper Rupert Murdoch appeared to have no inkling it was coming. He said during a conference Wednesday to discuss earnings that he has no idea what Malone’s planning, but “I’m not losing any sleep over it.”

The working theory on Wall Street is that Malone would eventually like to swap the shares for some of News Corp.’s media assets.

More Scene

  • 'Schitt's Creek' Stars Reveal Dream Guest

    'Schitt's Creek' Cast Reveals Dream Guest Stars: Oprah, Beyonce and ...

    “Schitt’s Creek” has big dreams. Dan Levy, who stars as David on the series, says his wish list of guest stars includes Oprah, Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Gwyneth Paltrow. “All for different reasons, none of whom we’ll get,” he cracked at the Critics’ Choice Awards. For those who haven’t caught on to the “Schitt’s Creek” [...]

  • Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bundchen

    Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen to Be Honored at UCLA Science Gala

    Science can be very glamorous. It certainly will be during Oscar week on Feb. 21 when the UCLA Institute of the Environment & Sustainability (IoES) honors Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen for environmental activism at its annual Hollywood for Science Gala. “When I moved to LA, the air was unbreathable. Rivers were catching fire in [...]

  • Don Cheadle and Andrew Rannells Black

    Don Cheadle, Andrew Rannells Talk Snorting 'Coke' on 'Black Monday'

    “Black Monday” show creators David Caspe and Jordan Cahen divulged an intriguing detail to come later in the first season of the new Showtime comedy at its world premiere, held at the Theatre at Ace Hotel on Monday night in Los Angeles. “The fourth or fifth episode opens with a sexual harassment seminar, which very well [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron attends the 44th Annual

    Alfonso Cuarón to LAFCA: 'Thanks to Your Help We Can Break Down Walls'

    Inclusion was the big winner at the L.A. Film Critics Association Awards, which was held Saturday night at the InterContinental in Century City. “This year’s winners are the most diverse in LAFCA’s 43-year history,” announced its president, Claudia Puig, adding that 14 out of their 18 awards were won by women and people of color. [...]

  • Mandatory Credit: Photo by Max Malandrino/REX/Shutterstock

    Hollywood Power Players Assemble to Save Iconic Deli Nate 'n Al

    A group of Hollywood executives and celebrities have banded together with the intent to save Beverly Hills deli and star haunt Nate ‘n Al, a stone’s throw from tourist destination Rodeo Drive. A consortium of investors including music kingpin Irving Azoff and wife Shelli, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chairman Jeff Shell, and Rande Gerber and [...]

  • Charlie Collier, FOX Chief Executive Officer

    'The Passage' Team Talks Diversifying Races, Genders and Ages of Book Characters

    “The Passage” star Saniyya Sidney was unaware that the book version of her character was originally white until her father, a fan of Justin Cronin’s apocalyptic trilogy, informed her during the audition process. “I was like, ‘Oh, she is?'” Sidney told Variety at Thursday’s series premiere in Santa Monica, Calif. “And when I got it, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content