At some point amid the endless courses of sashimi, tempura, and chilled octopus, Masayoshi Son's dealmaking synapses started firing frantically. Son had invited Rupert Murdoch to a swank Ginza eatery for an evening of kaiseki ryori, or Japanese haute cuisine, in late May. Having heard that Murdoch's News Corp. might launch the Japanese equivalent of its British Sky Broadcasting Corp. satellite-TV service, Son grilled the media tycoon. Bemused, Murdoch acknowledged the plan, then mentioned some potential Japanese partners.
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