News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch's talks to gain control of US satellite broadcast giant DirecTV moved up a gear this week when the board of General Motors gave its approval for merger talks between its Hughes Electronics division and News' nascent Sky Global Networks operation.

Although talks have been ongoing for months, the announcement was the first official confirmation of serious interest from the GM side. GM is earlier understood to have rejected an outright sale of the business and to have subsequently rejected Murdoch's proposal that News keep a 35% stake in Sky Global. Talks appear to have been re-started when Murdoch offered to cut that to a 30% holding.

Hughes' primary asset is US satellite television provider DirecTV, which has over 10 million subscribers and a 65% share of the US direct-to-home market. Sky Global has satellite holdings in Europe (BSkyB, Stream), Asia (Star, SkyPerfecTV), Australia and Latin America.

Both Microsoft Corp and Liberty Media are also expected to be initial shareholders in the operation, respectively contributing $3bn and $500m