NEW YORK -- In a move that aims to counter consolidation among TV distributors, Rupert Murdoch’s Fox has made an unsolicited takeover offer for rival media giant Time Warner for about $76 billion in cash and stock.
Time Warner rejected the bid, which amounted to about $86.30 per share, but an analyst called it just a first attempt in a courtship that would make the combined company as large as Disney in market value.
The rejected cash-and-stock offer comes on the heels of cable giant Comcast Corp.’s proposed $45 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable Inc., which was made in February. It also comes after AT&T Inc. announced in May it agreed to buy DirecTV for $48.5 billion.
Both deals, if approved by regulators, would help shift the balance of power in content negotiations to distributors because of their larger subscriber bases, which could help contain rising programming costs for things like sports channels. After certain divestitures, Comcast could end up serving 30 million video customers, while AT&T would serve about 26 million.
A big merger among content owners would tilt the balance back toward the media companies.
"You can get more money negotiating together than you would separately," Janney analyst Tony Wible said. "It’s a chain reaction. There will be more consolidation on the content side in response to consolidation from cable and satellite companies."
Time Warner Inc.
Twenty-First Century Fox Inc., which owns the 20th Century Fox movie studio, Fox broadcast network, and TV channels Fox News and FX, said it made the bid last month, but said no discussions were currently ongoing.