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Rupert Murdoch plays what-if with NBC Universal

November 17, 2009 |  4:40 pm

Fox Business Network interviewed News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch today (gee, wonder how they were able to book that one) and the media mogul acknowledged taking a look at General Electric's NBC Universal after word got out that Comcast was in talks to take control of the entertainment company.

MURDOCHGLICK "I thought it was interesting, but at that stage, Comcast was way, way too far down there," Murdoch said, adding, "I was late into the scene."

We have only a transcript, so it's hard to tell whether Murdoch was being witty or talking about the differences in valuations between broadcast and cable when he added that if he had done a deal, "I would have to sell off NBC, which would have been difficult, and MSNBC, which would not have been difficult."  We'd like to think that Murdoch was taking a shot at the liberal-leaning MSNBC, especially since there are no regulations on the books that would stop him from owning two cable news channels. 

Murdoch said he did not anticipate any major regulatory hurdles for NBC-Comcast, echoing a sentiment expressed yesterday by former News Corp. President Peter Chernin. Murdoch did say he expected some conditions to be put on a deal similar to those that were put on News Corp. when it acquired DirecTV. In that case, the concession was that it treat everybody equally when it came to selling its content. Requiring a company to treat everyone equally? Yeah, that sounds pretty extreme.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch with Fox Business Network's Alexis Glick