SBD/7/Sports Media

MURDOCH ADMITS TO NEWS CORP. CONTROL OVER FOX

     While testifying before FCC investigators in late January,
Rupert Murdoch "bluntly conceded" that his Australia-based News
Corp. "controlled all the equity of the American TV stations that
were the basis for the Fox television network," according to this
morning's N.Y. TIMES.  Sworn testimony released yesterday shows
that Murdoch said that he had not violated regulations that limit
foreign ownership of American stations because he is a
naturalized American citizen.  Murdoch: "Frankly, there was no
secret. ... News Corporation was on the hook for 100%."  If the
FCC finds that News Corp. and Fox are in violation of foreign-
ownership laws, Murdoch could be forced to "sell his stations or
restructure the company" (Edmund Andrews, N.Y. TIMES, 2/7).  The
WASHINGTON POST reports that government investigators have
"zeroed in" on a series of internal documents in which Fox
officials "discussed changing" the ownership structure "as far
back as 1989" (Paul Farhi, WASHINGTON POST, 2/7).  Fox officials
turned down a corporate restructuring plan in '90 for "fear of
triggering an investigation" (Daniel Pearl, WALL STREET JOURNAL,
2/7).
     PROFITS, PROFITS: Despite a $350M loss "reflecting expected
losses" on Fox's four-year NFL contract, News Corp.'s fiscal 2nd
Quarter earnings rose 11%.  The company said the loss was the
difference between what Fox will get in advertising revenue and
the cost of licensing, producing and marketing the NFL games over
the "life of the contract."  The charge was "less than half what
many people in the industry expected."  News Corp. CFO David
Devoe said the percentage of U.S. households reached by Fox
increased to 98% -- from 93% -- as a result of the football
broadcasts (Eben Shapiro, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/7).
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News Corp./Fox, NFL, Media

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