Malone Rattles Discovery

With John Malone in the middle of a
corporate showdown with Rupert Murdoch,
Discovery Communications staffers are abuzz
over exactly why CEO Judith McHale jetted off
to Liberty's Colorado headquarters last week. McHale appeared on Thursday to
make a special financial presentation to Liberty Chairman Malone and President
Robert Bennett. What was odd is that
Liberty—which owns 50% of Discovery—hasn't asked for one in a few years.
Further, McHale gave a similar presentation about her 2005 budget two weeks ago
to Discovery's board, including Malone, Cox
President Jim
and Advance Newhouse's
Bob Miron. The briefing comes as Malone has
panicked Murdoch by amassing a 17% voting stake in News Corp., suddenly
threatening the Murdoch family's control over the company. Malone is widely
believed to be trying to leverage the stock position into a deal to sell News
Corp. some assets. Is Discovery becoming a chip in that game? A Liberty
spokesman dismisses the speculation, saying Liberty started requesting such
presentations from most of its companies last year.