Rup//ert Murd//och’s News Corp is buying a 20% stake in at LBC, the entertainment conglomerate owned by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. Evidently Murdoch’s plans extend much deeper.
Authoritative reports out of Beirut state that Murdoch’s Mid-East plan is part of a “mega-deal” which includes taking a major stake in Beirut’s Lebanese Broadcasting Company (LBC) and in particular its LBC-Sat channel.
Prince Alwaleed’s Rotana Group holds most of the shares of LBC-Sat. Alwaleed also owns 5.5% of News Corp.
Magda Abu-Fadil, director of journalism training at the American University of Beirut, in a piece reproduced on the Huffington Post on Nov 1, and detailing an interview she had with Pierre el-Daher, CEO at LBC, said: “Media are still in transition. Costs have been going up and revenues going down," el-Daher said. "If they (media) don't do the exercise (of changing), they don't stand chance."
She adds that details of the deal have been leaked to local media, and involve “dumping unprofitable operations, synergy, and a strategy targeting growing markets in the Arab world”. LBC, amidst stagnant revenues, has recently laid off 140 staff.