Rupert Murdoch (Rick Wilking/Reuters)

Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox is withdrawing its proposal to acquire Time Warner, the company announced today in a release:

“We viewed a combination with Time Warner as a unique opportunity to bring together two great companies, each with celebrated content and brands. Our proposal had significant strategic merit and compelling financial rationale and our approach had always been friendly. However, Time Warner management and its Board refused to engage with us to explore an offer which was highly compelling. Additionally, the reaction in our share price since our proposal was made undervalues our stock and makes the transaction unattractive to Fox shareholders. These factors, coupled with our commitment to be both disciplined in our approach to the combination and focused on delivering value for the Fox shareholders, has led us to withdraw our offer.”

That’s odd: Murdoch backs away from an acquisition that would have made him an even bigger media mogul than he already is. Three weeks ago, reports surfaced that Murdoch’s $80 billion bid for Time Warner, home to HBO, Warner Bros. and a slew of TV and entertainment offerings, had failed, though the consensus among media pundits was that Murdoch would keep pursuing the trophy till he got it.

Could it be that the 83-year-old Murdoch is content with merely running a pair of companies (21st Century Fox and News Corp.) with a combined market cap of around $80 billion? Nah.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.