News Settles ASkyB Claims


News Corp. said Thursday that it would pay WorldCom Group $680 million in
preferred stock and $250 million in cash to settle claims over their former
American Sky Broadcasting Inc. venture.

ASkyB was supposed to be News Corp.'s and then-MCI Communications Corp.'s
direct-broadcast satellite platform and, at one time, it had a deal to merge
with EchoStar Communications Corp.

News Corp. later backed out of that deal with EchoStar and invested in the
MSO-backed PrimeStar Inc. venture instead.

ASkyB ended up having to pay to settle EchoStar's subsequent
breach-of-contract lawsuit.

WorldCom backers said the payment could help to ease liquidity concerns
facing the telecommunications provider.