“21st Century Fox can confirm that we made a formal proposal to Time Warner last month to combine the two companies. The Time Warner Board of Directors declined to pursue our proposal. We are not currently in any discussions with Time Warner,” the company said in a statement.
In a strong rebuttal Time Warner highlighted the “unique value of Time Warner’s industry-leading businesses”.
“The Time Warner Board, after consultation with its financial and legal advisors, determined that it was not in the best interests of Time Warner or its stockholders to accept the Proposal or to pursue any discussions with Twenty-First Century Fox. The Board is confident that continuing to execute its strategic plan will create significantly more value for the Company and its stockholders and is superior to any proposal that Twenty-First Century Fox is in a position to offer.”
The $80 billion bid has been interpreted as old media stepping up the fight against ‘modern’ competitors such as Apple and Google. It will also bring back memories of the 2000 union that created AOL Time Warner. That merger was widely seen as a failure and the companies were demerged in 2009.
Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO and founder of advertising agency WPP told Bloomberg TV he wouldn’t write off another bid: “When Rupert moves, he usually moves successfully. So I wouldn’t – it would be very foolish to bet against him. So I would say the deal has a lot to offer. It creates a very powerful combination, US cable and sports, obviously TV and film globally.”
Time Warner owns the Turner Broadcasting System, which runs CNN, the liberal competitior to Fox News. The New York Times reported CNN would have been sold off were the Fox bid for Time Warner have been successful.