NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Time Warner (TWX) shares were tumbling Wednesday as Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox (FOXA) withdrew its $80 billion cash-and-stock acquisition offer. The move brings to a sudden close the surprise bid that prompted the owner of HBO and CNN to dig in its heels at the notion of being consumed by the Australian-born media mogul.
Shares of New York-based Time Warner were falling 12% to $75.03.
Murdoch's decision to withdraw his bid for Time Warner on Tuesday was as abrupt and unexpected as the initial offer, a potential blockbuster deal that promised to upend global media by combining two of the world's largest entertainment companies. Both own a slew of cable-TV stations, large movie studios and international holdings along with the news rivals CNN and Fox News.
Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes woldn't comment directly on the Fox offer and its withdrawal except to say that it's essential to "look at all sides of issue when you are contemplating benefits & risks of putting very large companies together."
Murdoch coveted Time Warner both for its extensive sports contracts, its lineup of profitable 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.
But Fox investors were less than enamored by the proposed deal, calling into question Murdoch's decision to want to spend billions of dollars to acquire media properties that arguably duplicated rather than complimented his company's own holdings. Days after Fox confirmed its unsolicited bid for Time Warner on July 16, the BTIG media analyst Richard Greenfield argued that buying Time Warner would create untold programming challenges.