Murdoch empire's US$80 billion bid for rival Time Warner rejected

US$80 billion move by Fox would have seen two entertainment and media giants combined

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 July, 2014, 3:33am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 July, 2014, 4:56am

Rupert Murdoch's conglomerate said yesterday that it made an unsuccessful bid for rival Time Warner which could shake up the media-entertainment world.

The bid by 21st Century Fox, which would have combined two of the world's biggest media-entertainment empires if allowed to proceed, was for US$80 billion, a source familiar with the talks said.

A statement from 21st Century Fox said it "made a formal proposal to Time Warner last month to combine the two companies". The source said that despite the rejection, Murdoch was still determined to do a deal.

The statement from 21st Century Fox, which came after a New York Times report about the offer, said the Time Warner board of directors "declined to pursue our proposal", and added: "We are not currently in any discussions with Time Warner."

The source said Murdoch's group wanted to buy Time Warner and then spin off CNN, which is the cable news rival to his Fox News Channel.

Time Warner, meanwhile, issued a separate statement confirming it received, and rejected, an offer of stock and cash from 21st Century Fox. The statement said the Time Warner board "determined that it was not in the best interests of Time Warner or its stockholders to accept the proposal or to pursue any discussions" with Murdoch's firm.

"The board is confident that continuing to execute its strategic plan will create significantly more value for the company and its stockholders and is superior to any proposal that Twenty-First Century Fox is in a position to offer," the statement said.

The move comes after both conglomerates spun off their slow-growing publishing operations and established companies focusing on film, television and other high-growth segments.

Murdoch last year broke up his media empire into two firms - 21st Century Fox and News Corp, which operates the Wall Street Journal, and newspapers in Britain and Australia.

Time Warner this year spun off its magazine unit Time Inc, which publishes its flagship news weekly and other titles including Sports Illustrated and People.

The deal between the two giants would combine the storied Hollywood studios of Time Warner and 20th Century Fox, and include Time Warner's big cable channels such as HBO and TBS that would join Murdoch's Fox sports, news and entertainment channels.