News Corp sold all 19 million shares it owns in copy protection company Macrovision, a deal that probably netted it some $300 million. But this isn’t a windfall for Rupert Murdoch: It’s the end of a 20-year relationship he’s had with TV Guide, one that cost him more than $6 billion.
The backstory: News Corp originally bought a $3 billion stake in Triangle Publishing, the publisher of TV Guide, way back in 1988. Triangle merged with Gemstar, and News Corp bought out Liberty Media’s stake in the merged company. That move, which bumped the company’s investment to $7.6 billion, represented a bet that ownership of the digital roadmap to hundreds of TV channels would one day be a gold mine. It wasn’t: In December, Macrovision agreed to buy Gemstar for $2.8 billion, and by that time News Corp’s stake was worth a mere $1 billion.