Chernin: Big to get bigger in media world

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LAS VEGAS -- News Corp. President Peter Chernin told a cable industry gathering Tuesday that "this is a world in which the big get bigger," but he declined to comment about his media conglomerate's bid to take over Dow Jones & Co., owner of The Wall Street Journal.

"I think you will see Time Warner, Viacom, Comcast all get bigger in these areas," said Chernin, referring to the online media world, during a panel of industry executives at The Cable Show.

"If you go back 10 years ago and you look at all the hot Internet brands, the ones that are left as independent companies at this point are what, Yahoo, eBay and Amazon? That's it, everything else has been consolidated. And I don't see any reason that trend won't continue."

He said he expected to see major pairings of cable companies with content providers, such as AOL's 2001 acquisition of Time Warner Inc. He named cable company Comcast Corp. as a potential acquisition target by a content company.

"You have a Comcast platform, that's an incredibly valuable platform to bolt things onto, to monetize," Chernin said. "I believe that you will see continued consolidation and I think you will see big companies continue to get bigger."

At a news conference after the panel, Chernin declined to answer a question about whether News Corp. executives had met with the Bancroft family, which controls Dow Jones. Members of the family controlling 52% of the company's shareholder vote have opposed the $5 billion bid.

"Shockingly I'm not about to talk about Dow Jones a lot," Chernin said. "What has been reported heretofore is reasonably accurate. We would have preferred to keep this thing private. It somehow got out and we have no intention of talking about it publicly."

Dow Jones shares fell 51 cents, or 0.9%, to $55 on Tuesday. Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. had offered $60 per share for the company.
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