News Corp denies Kirch bid

RUPERT MURDOCH's News Corporation does not usually make comments on media reports about its activities but has decided that it would be better to deny that it has any plans to mount a hostile takeover bid for the Kirch Group - the company that controls the commercial rights to Formula 1.

News Corporation says that it is working with Kirch to develop the German company's pay-television business, in which it has a 22% stake.

The fact that News Corporation felt the need to deny the story - published in the respected Financial Times in London - is interesting and would seem to indicate that there is a lot more going on than meets the eye. Murdoch may be worried about the possible implications from a competition point of view in the European markets but it may simply be that he wants to get out of Kirch and the German company is trying to stop him selling his share to US cable company Liberty Media.

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