Microsoft is in talks to take a small minority stake in Rupert Murdoch's global satellite platform Sky Global Networks, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The deal would make Microsoft the second high-profile investor in Sky Global following John Malone's Liberty Media which signed up for a 4.76% stake last month (ScreenDaily, September 30).
Murdoch was due to take Sky Global public this autumn, but the float has been delayed until next year because of volatility in media and technology shares.
France's Vivendi was also in talks to take a small piece of Sky Global prior to its float. However it remains unclear if such a deal is still possible after the European Commission asked Vivendi to sell its stake in UK broadcaster BSkyB, part-owned by Murdoch's News Corp, as a condition of its merger with Seagram.
Sky Global's assets include News Corp's 38% stake in BSkyB, 100% of Asian platform Star, 30% of Sky Multi-Country Partners in Latin America and 10% of Japan's SkyPerfecTV. The satellite giant would give Microsoft several outlets for the interactive TV software it is currently developing for cable companies AT&T in the US and Netherlands-based UPC.