Whoa! Fox Confirms That It's Made a Bid to Buy Time Warner NY Times, Variety, Reuters
21st Century Fox has confirmed a New York Times story that it offered to buy Time Warner last month.
“21st Century Fox can confirm that we made a formal proposal to Time Warner last month to combine the two companies," the statement says. "The Time Warner Board of Directors declined to pursue our proposal. We are not currently in any discussions with Time Warner."
According to a story by Andrew Ross Sorkin and Michael J. De La Merced in The New York Times, Fox "first approached Time Warner in early June, [sources] said. Chase Carey, the president of 21st Century Fox and a longtime top lieutenant to [21st Century Fox Chairman and CEO Rupert] Murdoch, met privately with Time Warner’s chief executive, Jeff Bewkes, these people said. Later that month, the company delivered a formal takeover proposal worth $85 in stock and cash for each Time Warner share.
"At the time, the bid amounted to a roughly 25 percent premium to Time Warner’s stock price, these people said. 21st Century Fox indicated it would pay 60 percent of the price in stock and 40 percent in cash. The media giant said it would raise $24 billion to help pay for the deal and stressed that its bid was not dependent on financing. At $85 a share, 21st Century Fox would be paying about 12.6 times the company’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization last year."
The Times story also notes: "Mr. Bewkes was asked last week by Variety magazine about speculation that 21st Century Fox or Google might seek a deal. He replied: 'I know nothing about it.' "
The Times story adds: "While the talks between the two companies have thus far been considered friendly, people involved in the discussions said that Mr. Murdoch is determined to buy Time Warner and is unlikely to walk away."
Notes the Reuters follow-up to the Times story: "Fox, which owns movie studio 20th Century Fox and cable news channel Fox News, offered to sell CNN as part of its proposal to buy Time Warner to clear any regulatory hurdles." Some of Time Warner's other assets include the Warner Bros. studio, Turner Broadcasting, HBO and half of the CW (CBS owns the other half). Last month Time Warner spun out of the company the Time Inc. publications.
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Rupert Murdoch, 83, wants to buy Time Warner