DirecTV Retires Part of GM Stake

The GM pension fund sells almost half its holdings back to the satellite broadcaster.
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Rupert Murdoch-controlled



will buy back 100 million common shares from the pension plans run by former parent


(GM) - Get Report


The move will cut the GM pension plans' stake in satellite TV broadcaster DirecTV roughly in half. GM sold its stake in DirecTV to Murdoch's

News Corp.

(NWS) - Get Report

in December 2003.

DirecTV said Monday that it will pay $15.50 a share in cash, a 1% discount to Friday's closing price. The stake amounts to 7% of DirecTV shares outstanding. After the transaction closes on March 3, the GM Employee Benefit Plans will hold 115 million DirecTV shares.

The news comes just weeks after DirecTV unveiled a $3 billion buyback plan, as shareholders keep an eye on the company's strategic direction. Late last month,

reported that DirecTV and rival


(DISH) - Get Report


joining up to launch a nationwide wireless broadband network.

"We view this announcement as a slight positive as it may lessen some overhang on the DTV shares," writes Prudential's Kathy Styponias, who rates DirecTV underweight and has a $17 price target. "However, we believe investors have already priced in $3 billion of buybacks, and GM's shares do not represent incremental repurchases of equity."

On Monday shares in DirecTV were trading up 11 cents to $15.79.