21st Century Fox Withdraws Proposal to Acquire Time Warner

Rupert Murdoch

AP

Rupert Murdoch explains: “Our proposal had significant strategic merit and compelling financial rationale and our approach had always been friendly. However, Time Warner management and its Board refused to engage with us to explore an offer which was highly compelling”

Twenty-First Century Fox has withdrawn its proposal to acquire Time Warner.

Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch touted his attempt as one with “significant strategic merit and compelling financial rationale.” However, Time Warner and its board would not engage in talks, he said in a statement.

“Additionally, the reaction in our share price since our proposal was made undervalues our stock and makes the transaction unattractive to Fox shareholders,” Murdoch continued. “These factors, coupled with our commitment to be both disciplined in our approach to the combination and focused on delivering value for the Fox shareholders, has led us to withdraw our offer.”

Also read: Jane Fonda on Rupert Murdoch Buying Time Warner: ‘It Would Be a Catastrophe’

Twenty-First Century Fox’s board authorized a $6 billion share repurchase program on Tuesday, according to the release.

The repurchase of an additional $6 billion of Class A Common Stock is expected to be completed in the next 12 months.

On the stock repurchase, Murdoch commented: “This significant return of capital underscores the Company’s ongoing commitment to disciplined capital allocation and returning value to shareholders in a meaningful way.”

Also read: 5 Time Warner Execs Passed Up $137 Million to Keep Their Company

Last month, Time Warner’s board rejected Murdoch’s offer of roughly $80 billion — or $85 per share — split around 40 percent cash and 60 percent stock, on the grounds that no offer that Fox can generate will match the value that Time Warner can provide its shareholders.

The Fox offer was about 25 percent higher than the current stock value, which drove prices up on the market.

In a swift response to the takeover attempt, Time Warner’s board removed a special meeting provision, which would have otherwise given shareholders an opportunity to approve the sale to 21st Century Fox.