By now, it’s no secret that 21st Century Fox made a multi-billion dollar pass at Time Warner, only to get unceremoniously shot down by TW’s head honchos. Both companies mostly kept mum after the New York Times first broke the story, but now things have come to a head: Fox has conceded defeat and officially withdrew its $80 billion offer. Had the deal gone through, the resulting content titan would’ve had with enormous sway over the media world — it would have been in control of HBO, Turner’s TV channels (minus CNN, which would’ve been spun off), Fox’s broadcast network, Fox News, and two big-name film studios. Rupert Murdoch clearly saw the benefits of a mash-up, so why back off now?
To hear him tell the tale, Time Warner’s brush-off combined with a sinking stock price just made the deal unfeasible. The decision might not seem like a surprise — after all, Fox said in a statement that it was no longer in talks with Time Warner once word of the talks went public — but some still expected Rupert Murdoch to push even harder for a merger during today’s earnings conference call. Say what you will about the guy: he can drive a pretty hard bargain when it comes to things he wants and Reuters said earlier this week Fox was supposedly gearing up to offer a modestly inflated sum. Even now, some suspect that withdrawing the offer is just another Murdoch ploy, but an unnamed source told USA Today that this is the real deal. We’ll just see about that.
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