Among the most dramatic summer romances among media companies is Rupert Murdoch’s insatiable appetite to acquire Time Warner. He even sold off some of his empire’s Italian and German pay television business to the British Sky Broadcasting company to obtain valuable money and time to pursue Time Warner further after its rejection. Time Warner refused an unsolicited bid from Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox to be taken over for $80 billion in a cash and stock deal. The combined companies, in the words of Liberty Media’s John Malone, may form “a very powerful programming enterprise with lots of market power.” Burned by the rebuff, there is concern that Murdoch may begin stalking Time Warner with a hostile takeover bid.
There has been an amicable breakup this summer of Tribune Media and its publishing division, which owns the legendary Chicago Tribune and the L.A. Times. The new publishing division will be traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
Things are certainly complicated for E.W. Scripps, which is pursuing a new partnership and a breakup simultaneously. It is merging with the Journal of Communications Inc. of Milwaukee, and the combined company will spin off the Journal media business. Shareholders will received 69% of the new broadcasting company and 59% of the journal media business. When this deal goes through, Scripps will be the 5th largest broadcasting company in the U.S. with 34 television stations and 35 radio stations. The new headquarters of the media division will be in Milwaukee, home of the Milwaukee Sentinel.