The New York Times reported Wednesday morning that the Rupert Murdoch-led Fox made an $80 billion takeover bid in recent weeks, but was turned down. Time Warner confirmed the news, saying in a statement that Twenty-first Century Fox offered 1.531 of its Class A non-voting common shares and $32.42 in cash for every Time Warner share. According to the Times’ sources, the process began in early June, when Chase Carey, the president of 21st Century Fox and a longtime Murdoch deputy, met privately with Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes.
Had the merger gone through, the combined companies would have a revenue of $65 billion, dwarfing Viacom’s (VIAB) 2013 revenue of $13.8 billion and Disney’s (DIS) $45 billion. If combined, they would also own Fox, Fox News, FX, TNT, TBS, HBO, 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, and the broadcast rights to a variety of sports including college basketball, the NBA, and the MLB. The Times’ sources said that had the merger been successful, 21st Century Fox would have sold CNN to avoid antitrust concerns with Fox News.
Time Warner’s 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,” according to a statement. “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."