Rupert Murdoch explains why Fox dropped Time Warner bid

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. announced a $950-million deal to buy Move Inc. and its real estate listing website
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Rupert Murdoch has shared some of his thoughts on U.S. and British politics, the Scottish referendum for independence -- and why he aborted his company’s $80-billion bid this summer for rival Time Warner.

Murdoch was interviewed Thursday morning by Neil Cavuto on Fox Business Network, which is owned by the Murdoch-controlled 21st Century Fox.

Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of Fox, was speaking by phone in London, where he marveled at the large number of construction cranes dotting the skyline.


Cavuto, for his part, identified the media mogul as “my boss.”

It didn’t appear that rehashing Fox’s failed pursuit of Time Warner was high on Cavuto’s list of topics. In fact, it was Murdoch who broached the subject during a discussion on whether the U.S. markets are overheated.

“Well, I am also a bit bearish I guess .... That is why I pulled out of the Time Warner deal,” said Murdoch.

“It was, to pay the price if that was necessary ... I just felt with all the uncertainties in the world, I didn’t want to be carrying that degree of debt,” Murdoch added.

He acknowledged that Time Warner’s defensive reaction -- the company refused to entertain discussions with Fox -- came as a surprise.

“I thought it could be received rather differently, but here we are,” Murdoch said. “The shareholders in both companies would have benefited.”

Cavuto asked whether Fox would make another run at Time Warner.

“No. Certainly not in a hostile way,” Murdoch said.

Cavuto wondered whether Murdoch had discussed the matter with Time Warner management since Fox dropped its bid in early August. “Not at all. Nope,” Murdoch said.


The 83-year-old mogul long has been fascinated by British politics, and more recently, the movement for Scottish independence.

Murdoch has taken to Twitter to add his observations about political posturing, the historic vote and, even, to address reports of ruckuses at the polls.

“Nonsense reports alleging violence in Scotland, surprisingly good mannered crowds both sides,” Murdoch wrote on his Twitter feed early Thursday. “May change tonight with pubs open all night!”

During the interview with Cavuto, Murdoch said the political winds are changing -- particularly as economic policies have largely helped the rich but not the average worker.

“I think there is meaning in this, and it goes beyond Scotland,” Murdoch said. “You are seeing it down here in Britain ...and in France...and really, you could take the U.S. and go across into Middle America, and what do they think about Washington? And Wall Street, for that matter.”

“People are really looking for change,” Murdoch said.

He closely follows U.S. politics, and mentioned the run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election.


“I am intrigued with the whole process. Who is going to run against Hillary on the Democratic side?” Murdoch said. “What could happen there?”

“And then, there are a lot of people in the Republican field… Rand Paul...Paul Ryan, though he hasn’t declared yet. Jeb Bush may -- he would be a very good president. Marco Rubio is making some very interesting speeches,” Murdoch said. “I think that ... John Kasich in Ohio is going to emerge as a candidate and Chris Christie, and there’s other governors.”

Cavuto wondered why Murdoch tacked the New Jersey governor’s name at the end of the list. Was there any reason?

“No, not at all,” said Murdoch.

“I think he will be a very visible and strong candidate when the primaries come,” Murdoch said of Christie.

Twitter: @MegJamesLAT