Murdoch’s Fox made offer to buy Time Warner

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox said Wednesday that it made an offer to buy media conglomerate Time Warner last month. Shares of Time Warner soared nearly 15% in premarket trading Wednesday following the news.

A report first published in the New York Times revealed Murdoch made a bid, worth $85 a share in stock and cash, for Time Warner in June but that the bid was rejected. The offer is 20% higher than where Time Warner’s stock closed on Tuesday. The two companies subsequently confirmed to that an offer was made and turned down by Time Warner.

Time Warner said in a statement that the company is “confident that continuing to execute its strategic plan will create significantly more value” for shareholders than any proposal Fox could offer.

21st Century Fox added in a statement that it is “not currently in any discussions with Time Warner.”

Time Warner owns CNN and CNNMoney. Under terms of the bid, Fox would sell CNN to answer antitrust concerns. The Times report mentioned ABC and ESPN owner Walt Disney Co. as well as CBS as possible suitors for CNN.

The Times reported that Fox COO Chase Carey (and not Murdoch) reportedly met with Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes to discuss the deal.

But Time Warner’s board reportedly rejected the offer. One of the reasons for the rejection of the offer was that the cash and stock bid involved non-voting shares of 21st Century Fox. The Murdoch family controls the voting Fox shares.

But the report suggested that Murdoch was unlikely to drop his plans to take over Time Warner.

If Fox is able to buy Time Warner, it would hang onto cable networks such as TBS, TNT and premium network HBO, as well as movie studio Warner Bros.

A deal would combine Time Warner’s media brands with the Fox broadcast network, the 21st Century Fox movie studio, and entertainment cable networks such as FX as well as Fox news and Fox Sports 1. It would also give the company access to a number of sports rights deals that Time Warner now holds with the NBA, the NCAA basketball tournament and Major League Baseball.

— CNN’s Cristina Alesci contributed to this report.

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