21st Century Fox Withdraws Proposal to Acquire Time Warner

1:19 PM PST 08/05/2014 by Eriq Gardner
AP Images/Invision
Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch points to the decrease in Fox's share price in the past two weeks as a reason why the marriage is now "unattractive."

21st Century Fox has withdrawn its bid to acquire Time Warner Inc.

"We viewed a combination with Time Warner as a unique opportunity to bring together two great companies, each with celebrated content and brands," chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch said Tuesday in a statement. "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."

STORY Time Warner Stock Down After Fox Withdraws Bid

The New York Times first reported Fox's $80 billion takeover offer last month. The revelation shot Time Warner's stock up significantly past Fox's offer. That led to speculation that Fox would up its bid, especially upon news that Fox was selling off its German and Italian pay TV assets to Britain's BSkyB for $9 billion.

Murdoch is standing firm.

"The reaction in our share price since our proposal was made undervalues our stock and makes the transaction unattractive to Fox shareholders," said Murdoch. "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."

Time Warner's stock is down more than $10, or nearly 12 percent, in the first half hour after the close of the market. Meanwhile, investors are reacting positively to the bid withdrawal on Fox's end, as the company's stock is up more than 7 percent.

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The potential Fox-Time Warner merger garnered close attention from media moguls, analysts and others in Hollywood during the past two weeks.

"You hear an announcement, you say, ‘How is it going to affect me?'” CBS president Leslie Moonves told The Hollywood Reporter about the news of the potential takeover.

Liberty Media chairman John Malone on Monday said the combined companies would create "a very powerful programming enterprise with lots of market power."

Others weren't impressed. Questioning whether a marriage between two companies with combined annual revenue of $65 billion would really lead to more profits, analyst Doug Creutz wrote, "We generally do not buy the rationale for why this merger would generate significant value."

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