Media titan Rupert Murdoch is on the hunt.
Murdoch-owned 21st Century Fox made an offer to acquire rival Time Warner in June, the company confirmed Wednesday.
But Time Warner declined the offer, Fox said in a statement. “We are not currently in any discussions with Time Warner,” the company said.
The unsolicited offer was reportedly worth $80 billion, according to the New York Times. In its formal offer letter, Fox offered $85 for each Time Warner share — 60% in stock and 40% in cash.
Although Time Warner rejected the offer, the company’s shares are up roughly 16% in pre-market trading as news of the proposed deal spills out.
If Fox and Time Warner merged, it would create a media behemoth with a total revenue of $65 billion. Time Warner cable channels like TNT, TBS, and the premium HBO would join Fox’s FX, Fox News, and the Fox broadcasting network. The joint entity would become the largest film and TV studio business, with Warner Bros. and Twentieth Century Fox operating under a single parent company. And Fox’s sports business would get access to Time Warner broadcast rights for professional and college basketball, Major League Baseball, and other sports.
A media merger of this size and scope could face some substantial antitrust scrutiny from regulators. To head off some of those concerns, Fox indicated it would sell off Time Warner-owned CNN, which competes directly with Fox News, according to people familiar with the matter.
Fox believes the combined company would save as much as $1.5 billion annually between reductions in human resources, sales, IT operations, and other overlap, according to an anonymous source cited in Bloomberg.
But Time Warner decided, under the terms of Fox’s proposal, that it was better off on its own. The stock portion of the offer would be made using nonvoting shares, which proved unappealing to Time Warner, according to sources cited in the Times.
But despite Time Warner’s initial rejection, Murdoch is determined to buy Time Warner, said people familiar with the matter. It does not appear likely that he will walk away. A deal of this scope could be the biggest triumph of his long career.
Or maybe he just really likes HBO’s Game of Thrones.
VentureBeatVentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative technology and transact. Our site delivers essential information on data technologies and strategies to guide you as you lead your organizations. We invite you to become a member of our community, to access:
- up-to-date information on the subjects of interest to you
- our newsletters
- gated thought-leader content and discounted access to our prized events, such as Transform 2021: Learn More
- networking features, and more