Jeff Bewkes Flexes Muscles as Rupert Murdoch Tries to Save Face

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Rupert Murdoch, the media mogul who controls 21st Century Fox (FOXA), sought Wednesday to put a positive spin on Time Warner's refusal to negotiate his $80 billion offer to merge the two companies that compete in television, film and even politics.

Murdoch, 83, who has won many more corporate battles than he's lost, told investors in a conference call that Fox is content with its current size and isn't scouring the media landscape to buy companies.

"We're not going to buy anything that's around," he said. "We have no plans to go out on the acquisition trail." Murdoch did add that when it comes to buying companies "I wouldn't say never" but future targets are more likely to be "small."

Read More: Time Warner Tumbles as Fox Withdraws Bid With Investor Support



That vision, of course, stands in stark contrast to Murodch's eager efforts made public on July 16 to acquire Time Warner for $85 a share, an offer that would have produced a company that would been anything but small. The proposed merger, which Time Warner's board resolutely rejected and refused to discuss, would have combined a slew of cable-TV stations, large movie studios, a vast array of international holdings along with the news rivals CNN and Fox News.

Murdoch coveted Time Warner both for its extensive sports contracts, its lineup of profitable channels and the very successful premium channel HBO, a property that Fox is said to have envisioned as a platform to challenge Netflix's  (NFLX) domination in over-the-top content streaming. Fox's eagerness to acquire a platform such as HBO comes as Netflix has stepped-up its own international expansion plans.

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