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Murdoch Reaches Tentative Satellite Deal With Primestar

May 28, 1997|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — Recovering quickly from the collapse of his satellite TV venture with Echo Star, Rupert Murdoch has apparently found a new partner to help satisfy his U.S. satellite ambitions: Primestar.

Murdoch's News Corp. reached a tentative agreement over the Memorial Day weekend to receive a minority, nonvoting stake in Primestar in return for its still-unfinished satellites and the orbital slots it holds with partner MCI, according to a source familiar with the deal.

No agreement has been signed, but papers outlining the deal have been circulated to all the parties involved, the source said Tuesday.

Primestar, primarily owned by the nation's big cable companies, is the No. 2 player in the direct-broadcast satellite business, following DirecTV. The young industry has about 5 million subscribers, compared with about 65 million for cable.

Taking a stake in an established satellite service would help fill out Murdoch's orbital empire in Asia, Europe and Latin America. In the United States, he has yet to launch any satellites or sign up subscribers.

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