NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Rupert Murdoch usually gets what he wants, but not this time.
In a rare defeat for a man who has reshaped media the world over, the 21st Century Fox (FOXA) Chairman and controlling shareholder withdrew his $80 billion stock-and-cash offer on Tuesday to acquire Time Warner (TWX), a deal that promised to once again remake the industry.
In a statement, Murdoch said that Fox viewed a merger with its longtime rival as a "unique opportunity to bring together two great companies, each with celebrated content and brands." But the proposed combination, firmly rejected by Time Warner's board and its CEO Jeff Bewkes, was not to be.
"Time Warner management and its Board refused to engage with us to explore an offer which was highly compelling," Murdoch added in the statement.
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Murdoch coveted Time Warner both for its extensive sports contracts, a lineup of profitable cable-TV channels and the very successful HBO, a property that Fox envisioned as a platform to challenge Netflix's (NFLX) domination in over-the-top content streaming.
Time Warner shares, which surged 18% on July 16 following news of Murdoch's unsolicited $85 per share offer, were tumbling in after-market trading, falling 9.3% after closing on Tuesday at $85.19. Rebuffed,
Murdoch's board chose instead to authorize a $6 billion share repurchase plan, to be spent within the next 12 months, helping send Fox shares soaring 8% in after-hours trading after closing at $31.30.
The decision to buy back shares rather than spend billions to engineer a massive merger was made in part to calm restive shareholders, unhappy that Fox had declined 4% since July 15 compared to the S&P 500 Index