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Murdoch's Fox, bruised after Time Warner bid, says it will not pursue content companies

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. executives said Wednesday that the company won't try to buy any other big content companies, a day after it called off its pursuit of rival media giant Time Warner Inc.

Fox Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey said on a conference call with analysts that "we have no plans to pursue any other third-party content company as an alternative to Time Warner."

Upon being questioned whether all small acquisitions were out of the question, CEO Rupert Murdoch, responded, "If there was something very unique but small, I don't know, I wouldn't say never. But we have no plans to go out on the acquisition trail."

The owner of Fox News Channel and the 20th Century Fox movie studio ended its $76 billion bid for Time Warner Inc. after the New York company behind HBO and the Warner Bros. movie studio rejected its offer. Fox's stock had dropped, making a cash-and-stock deal more difficult. Instead, Fox offered $6 billion in share buybacks over the next 12 months.

Both the Time Warner and Fox CEOs said that the companies were big enough already. Fox executives said that Time Warner had represented a unique opportunity.

As for Time Warner: "We're not lacking something that we need," CEO Jeff Bewkes told analysts on an earlier conference call Wednesday.

Fox shares rose 4.1 per cent to $33.65 in after-hours trading Wednesday after reporting better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings. They had gained 3.3 per cent to $32.33 in the regular session. The stock is still short of its close of $35.19 on July 15, the day before Fox made its initial bid for Time Warner public.

The New York-based company's net income in the three months to June 30 came to $999 million, or 45 cents per share, compared with a loss of $371 million, or 16 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago.

Excluding one-time events, adjusted earnings came to 42 cents per share, beating the 38 cents expected by analysts polled by FactSet.

Revenue rose 17 per cent to $8.42 billion, also above the $7.99 billion expected by analysts.

The Canadian Press


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