General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

and

Hughes Electronics

(GMH)

are continuing to evaluate "potential restructuring alternatives" relating to the automaker's interest in Hughes, including a possible spinoff or strategic investment.

The companies said they have been evaluating a variety of possible transactions, including a spinoff of Hughes to GM's shareholders, "strategic investments in Hughes from a broad range of interested parties" or maintaining the unit's current status.

"Whether and when we might be able to announce a transaction remains uncertain, although it is a very high priority to attain resolution of the matter as promptly as practical," GM, which is based in Detroit, said in a press release.

In the statement, Hughes, El Segundo, Calif., said "the process we are going through is complicated by the currently very difficult conditions in the financial markets, but we are dedicated to identifying a course of action which will maximize the value of Hughes and is fair to holders of both classes of GM common stock."

Rupert Murdoch's

News Corp.

(NWS) - Get Report

has been interested in Hughes'

DirecTV

satellite television operations for some time, and Thursday's announcement will likely serve to give new life to rumors that the two companies are pursuing a merger.

Shares of General Motors rose 1.1% to $52.09 in

New York Stock Exchange

trading Thursday, while Hughes gained 2.2% to $18.95.