Murdoch $5bn war chest

News Corporation has a $5bn "war chest", Rupert Murdoch has said, highlighting his appetite for acquisitions while more indebted rivals struggle. "We are as well positioned as we can be to face what may well turn into a prolonged economic downturn," he told the media group's annual meeting in New York. The group chairman highlighted eastern Europe as one of three regions, with India and the broader Asian market, in which he would seek to expand. The group is focusing on pay-TV platforms in Europe in spite of a profit warning from Premiere, the German company in which it has built a 25.1 per cent stake.

Asked if News Corp might buy assets from Viacom or CBS after Sumner Redstone, their chairman, was forced into a sale of non-voting stock last week, he said: "If they were at a very reasonable price, yes. But I'm not sure they have anything for sale."

Murdoch also described the decision by regulators to force British Sky Broadcasting, to sell most of its stake in ITV, the commercial broadcaster, as a "huge injustice".

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