21st Century Fox’s Murdoch stops chase for Time Warner


Rupert Murdoch (WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)

Twenty-First Century Fox on Tuesday withdrew an offer to purchase Time Warner for $80 billion after being rebuffed for its proposed mega-media merger.

"Time Warner management and its Board refused to engage with us to explore an offer which was highly compelling," 21st Century Fox Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch said in a statement. "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."

The proposal would have put several powerful media properties together, including HBO, Fox News, 20th Century Fox and Warner studios. Some analysts say Murdoch is known for his persistence with mergers and may try again to acquire Time Warner. His bid was expected to unleash a wave of mergers in the media industry with companies scrambling to provide bulk offerings of movies and television shows across traditional television, cable and emerging mobile Internet platforms.

Murdoch said 21 Century Fox's board authorized a $6 billion share repurchase program on Tuesday. Immediately following the announcement, shares of the company rose 6.8 percent to $33.15 in after-hours trading. Time Warner's stock dropped 11 percent to $76.

Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes said last month that Murdoch's proposal was inferior to the value of the company's brands.

“Our business plans will create significantly more value for the company and our shareholders, and that’s superior to any proposal that Fox is in a position to offer,” Bewkes said in a video for employees.

Cecilia Kang is a staff writer covering the business of media and entertainment.
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