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Time Warner rejects $80bn Fox bid

21st Century Fox has confirmed that it tabled a US$80bn offer to buy out Time Warner but the bid was rejected.

In a statement released this afternoon, the company said: “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 deal would have created an enormous media powerhouse made up of the Warner Bros and 20th Century Fox film studios as well as the respective companies’ TV networks, such as Fox, Fox News, FX, HBO, TNT and TBS.

The New York Times reported that the deal would have be made up of 40% cash and 60% stock, with Time Warner’s cable news network CNN being sold off to avoid a clash with Fox News.

The move would also have made the amalgamated company a significant player in sports rights, which Fox has been investing in heavily of late.

21st Century Fox owner Rupert Murdoch is unlikely to walk away from the deal, according to sources, as he continues his ambitious, aggressive growth plans.

Murdoch’s company is currently involved in talks to form a joint venture with Apollo Global Management that will bring Shine Group, Core Media Group and Endemol together to form one of the biggest production outfits in the world.

Last month Time Warner was reportedly close to finalising the purchase of a major stake in youth-skewing multimedia outfit Vice Media, in which 21st Century Fox took a 5% stake last year.

In Europe, UK satcaster BSkyB, 39% of which belongs to 21st Century Fox, is bidding to buy out the 21st Century Fox stakes in Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia to create a pan-European pay TV business.

This week, 21st Century Fox veterans Gary Newman and Dana Walden were named joint leaders of a new division uniting 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Broadcasting Company.

Both will hold the title of chairman and CEO of Fox Television Group and will be responsible for programming, digital and marketing at the Fox network while continuing to oversee 20th Century Fox Television (Fox 21, Fox Television Studios), which they have led for the past 15 years.

The move follows Kevin Reilly’s departure as chairman of entertainment at FBC last month after seven years with the network.

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