News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch said that he may not press ahead with the proposed flotation of his satellite operations under the Sky Global Networks banner.

Murdoch said the need for a flotation would be determined by News Corp's ongoing talks to acquire DirecTV from Hughes Electronics and separate talks to sell the Fox Family Entertainment channel, which is jointly owned with Saban Entertainment.

"We have to conclude these conversations with these American satellite broadcasters and see whether we can effect a merger with our interests around the world and interests here,'' Murdoch told CNBC Asia. "If that happens, there may not be an IPO because we may be merging existing public companies,'' he added. "If, on the other hand, [the talks] don't succeed, ... we will do an IPO.''

The oft mooted flotation was originally planned for the last quarter of 2000 and was recently targeted for the first quarter of 2001. Many analysts had assumed that a publicly-quoted Sky Global could be worth $40bn and would be the vehicle to bid for DirecTV.

A decision to float or not may have an impact on Vivendi Universal, which in order to comply with EU competition authorities will have to dispose of its stake in News Corp's BSkyB.

News Corp shares fell A$1.015 from A$18.0 to A$16.985.