For Murdoch clan, debt is not a concern


News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch said his family doesn't face the risk of having to sell company shares as Viacom and CBS chairman Sumner Redstone recently had to do.

"We have no debt at all," he said Friday at the conglomerate's annual shareholder meeting.

Murdoch also signaled an interest in expanding News Corp.'s subscription-based businesses amid a tough economy and rejected a suggestion that media companies should hit up the U.S. Treasury for their own bailout package.

"I don't think you'll expect any media companies to accept a handout from the government," Murdoch replied to a shareholder question. He emphasized that News Corp. has little exposure to the recent failure of banks and the current financial crisis given that it works with many banks.

Murdoch also warned again about the challenges of global economic weakness, though he reiterated that he feels News Corp. is better positioned than its peers.

"We're as well-positioned as we can be for what may well turn out to become a prolonged (downturn)," he said, admitting that the recent turmoil has "weakened the advertising markets and beaten down our share price." (partialdiff)