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Barter Plays Role In Biggest Of Corporate Deals

Business mogul Rupert Murdoch is looking to trade DirecTV Group, the nation�s leading satellite TV operator, for something he values even more...greater control of his own company. 

Murdoch is negotiating to barter his 38% stake in DirecTV to cable pioneer John Malone, for the 19% voting stake in News Corp...owned by Malone�s Liberty Media Corp. The trade would free Murdoch from fears that Liberty�s chunk could fall into unfriendly hands and threaten his family�s grip on News Corp, which controls nearly 30% of the stock.

Under the terms being discussed, Liberty would trade its 19% stake in News Corp., which is worth more than $11 billion, for the 38% stake in DirecTV, which is valued at about $9 billion. (Liberty would get another asset in the trade, such as a TV station and would contribute some cash so the deal would be tax-free for News Corp.)

The barter deal would save the two companies as much as $4.5 billion in capital-gains taxes, according to a tax analyst.

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