Murdoch: News Corp. close to buyback deal with Liberty Media

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. is close to a deal to buy back Liberty Media's stake in his media empire, and that the company would probably drop its 'poison pill' anti-takeover measure if it goes ahead, an Associated Press report said.

Murdoch, speaking to shareholders at the company's former base of Adelaide, said negotiations with John Malone's Liberty Media were still under way, but a deal was 'very likely.'

Murdoch, the Australian-born chairman and CEO of the global media company, said it expects to buy back Liberty's stake in a 'large' but cashless deal. He said the group will use assets to buy out Liberty's stake, the Associated Press report said.

The two sides have been talking about swapping Liberty's 19 % voting stake in News Corp. for one or more assets, possibly News Corp.'s 38% interest in the satellite TV broadcaster DirecTV Group.

Liberty Media spokesman John Orr did not immediately return a message, the report said.

Liberty is a holding company based in the Denver suburb of Englewood , Colorado.

At its annual general meeting in New York last month, News Corp. shareholders narrowly approved an extension of the 'poison pill' measure, adopted two years ago after Malone surprised Murdoch by suddenly accumulating a big stake in News Corp.'s voting shares, the report said.

Malone's stake now potentially rivals the Murdoch family's voting stake of 30%.

Murdoch said the company sought the extension of the 'poison pill' because of the slow rate of progress in the negations with Malone.

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