21st Century Fox announced on Tuesday its decision to withdraw an acquisition offer for paid television giant Time Warner.
In a statement, CEO Rupert Murdoch called the bid for Time Warner a “unique opportunity to bring together two great companies.” But he said that while his company’s approach “had always been friendly,” Time Warner management “refused to engage with us to explore an offer which was highly compelling.”
A deal would have made Fox, which is home to a vast array of television, cable and film properties, an even bigger player in the media world. Time Warner owns a huge paid television business including HBO, TNT and TBS.
Fox had offered nearly $80 billion for Time Warner. But Time Warner rejected that overture last month.
Murdoch also cited the reaction to Fox’s share price, which slumped as a result, as another reason to withdraw the offer. He said that such response “undervalues our stock and makes the transaction unattractive to Fox shareholders.”
Meanwhile, following Fox’s announcement that it was withdrawing its bid, Time Warner’s shares fell 11% in after-hours trading.
Fox also said that its Board of Directors authorized a $6 billion share buyback program to be completed in the next 12 months.
But despite Murdoch’s thoughts on the matter, it may not be the end of the road for a possible deal.
The deal would have merged two companies that spun off their publishing assets. While 21st Century Fox sold News Corp., which owns The Wall Street Journal, Time Warner spun off Time Inc., the owner of Fortune, People, Sports Illustrated and others.