Hughes, News Corp. talks heat up

Merger talks between Hughes Electronics and News Corp. aimed at creating a new global satellite network have gone into high gear, with a deal between the two companies likely within a few weeks, according to press reports.

The scenario being discussed by the two would see General Motors Corp. spinning off Hughes and its DirecTV operation, with News Corp.'s Sky Global Networks being merged into Hughes as a new public trading entity. Hughes would own about 64% of the new entity, with News Corp. owning the remainder of what would be a $60 billion to $70 billion company.

News Corp. honcho Rupert Murdoch, who has been eager to combine Sky Global with DirecTV, reportedly has given GM management 10 days to reach an agreement.