Tuesday, 31 January 2023

Murdoch withdraws proposal to merge “Fox” and “News Corp” ‎again

Rupert Murdoch has withdrawn a proposal to remerge News Corp and Fox Corp and is also considering selling Move, which operates realtor.com, to Coaster Group, according to a regulatory filing and people familiar with the matter.

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According to “Reuters”, three informed sources said that News Corp. is in talks to sell its stake in Move to Costa for about $3 billion.

Several major shareholders had declared their opposition to the proposed Fox News Corp. combination, and News Corp. said Tuesday in a statement that it was “not ideal for News Corp and Fox shareholders at this time.”

The deal would have reunited the media empire that Murdoch divided nearly a decade ago

News Corp. confirmed talks to sell Move to Costar after sources reported the news on Tuesday, adding that there was no guarantee the discussions would lead to a deal.

A spokesperson said the company “constantly evaluates merger and acquisition opportunities across a wide range of companies to maximize shareholder value” and does not comment on “rumor or market speculation.”

Informed sources reported that there was no exchange of any offer between News Corp and Fox News before canceling the merger discussions, and said that the opposition of News Corp’s shareholders played a role in canceling those plans.

People familiar with the matter said that the rise in News Corp’s shares in the past few weeks meant that Fox would have had to pay a large price premium for agreeing to the merger, something the Murdoch family does not think it can justify to shareholders.

Focus shares have fallen 5 percent, while News Corp has risen 25 percent since talks between the two companies were first announced on Oct. 14. The market value of News Corp is currently about 11 billion dollars, while the value of Fox is estimated at more than 17 billion.

Sources said Murdoch proposed reuniting his media empire last fall, arguing that the publishing and entertainment companies he separated in 2013 would give the combined company greater scope in news, live sports and information.

Many people close to the Murdoch family saw the motive behind the attempt to merge the media companies as the 91-year-old’s succession plans to consolidate power in the hands of his son and Fox boss Lachlan Murdoch, an idea the company called “ridiculous” in November. ..

Major shareholders in News Corp rejected the idea

Rupert Murdoch and his family control 40 percent of News Corp and Fox. Had an agreement been reached, they would have abstained when each company seeks shareholder approval for a merger due to potential conflicts of interest. This made securing the support of other major shareholders a precondition for completing the current deal

News Corp agreed to buy Move in 2014 for $950 million to diversify its digital real estate business, which was concentrated in Australia at the time.

Since then, News Corp.’s investors have been calling for the company to spin off its digital real estate assets.

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