Rupert Murdoch's entertainment company, 21st Century Fox, pounced on its prey at an opportune moment.
Over lunch in New York in early June, Murdoch's top lieutenant, Chase Carey, told Time Warner Inc. Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes that Fox wanted to buy his company. The two men had gotten together just three days after Time Warner divested its magazine unit, Time Inc., a transaction in the works for more than a year.
The spinoff also made Time Warner much more digestible.
Fox's offer was also timed when other potential bidders seemed scarce. Several deep-pocketed companies that might have had interest in their own offer for Time Warner were already consumed with huge...