Rupert Murdoch 'resolute' in withdrawal of $80 billion Time Warner bid


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The Independent Online

Rupert Murdoch and one of his top lieutenants insisted late on Wednesday that Mr Murdoch's 21st Century Fox will not revive its withdrawn $80 billion proposal to buy Time Warner and maintained Fox is not looking for an alternative major acquisition.

Mr Murdoch said the refusal of Time Warner's management and board to engage in discussions coupled with the negative reaction of Fox's share price to the proposed cash-and-stock deal made the transaction “no longer attractive to Fox shareholders.”

In a conference call to discuss Fox's quarterly earnings with investors, Mr Murdoch said: “As you know, yesterday we walked away - this is our resolute decision.

“While we remain opportunistic and nimble, we are a strategically complete company and have a clear sense of where we are going.”

Questioned by one analyst on whether Fox would now build growth from within or buy other assets, Mr Murdoch said: “We build ourselves. If you look at all our best businesses, we've started them ourselves.

“We are not going to buy anything that's around - at all. If there was something very unique, but small, I don't know, I wouldn't say never.

“But we have no plans to go out on the acquisition trail.”

Some analysts have speculated that the withdrawal of the takeover proposal is a bluff by Mr Murdoch in his desire to eventually get control of Time Warner.

However, Chase Carey, Fox's chief operating officer, told the same conference call: “Let me be clear - we are done (with Time Warner).

“It became increasingly clear that the combination of the drop in our share price and the highly defensive nature of Time Warner's actions was going to lead to a transaction where too much of the value created in success went to Time Warner shareholders.”

Carey said the proposal for Time Warner “was one of opportunity, not necessity or defensive concerns.”

Carey added: “Our confidence in our future made the thought of issuing our stock anywhere near its current price simply untenable.

“We have no plans to pursue any other third party content company as an alternative to Time Warner.”

21st Century Fox beat analysts' estimates by reporting quarterly revenue of $8.42 billion, a $1.21 billion or 17 per cent increase over the same quarter last year.