The media baron even fielded a few stray questions while allowing one, particularly vocal shareholder to go beyond his two question allotment. Murdoch exuded a perfunctory air, but did offer some insight into his company’s decision to walk away from its bid last summer for Time Warner.
“In the end, we concluded the undoubted value created was not worth the price,” said Murdoch.
21st Century Fox had pushed an unsolicited takeover offer of $75 billion for Time Warner, but Murdoch said it quickly became clear that the company would have to sweeten its proposal beyond $85 a share.
“It was quite clear we’d have to increase our offer by another $10 or $15…and I just felt it wasn’t worth that,” he said.
Murdoch also assured stockholders that the re-transmission standoff between Dish and Time Warner over rights to broadcast channels such as Cartoon Network, HLN and TruTV will not be repeated when the time comes to renegotiate pacts between the satellite service and Fox’s channels.
“I met the other day with head of Dish and there’s no way that he would challenge Fox News,” said Murdoch, noting the current pact expires in a few months.
Murdoch also revealed the company is now $7 billion richer after it completed the transfer of Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia to BSkyB shortly before the meeting. The goal is to turn the Sky properties into a pan-European television giant, something Murdoch said would create “enormous long term value.”
Shareholders approved the election of Fox’s board, its executive compensation plans and the appointment of Ernst & Young as the company’s accounting firm by an “overwhelming majority,” although a final vote tally will be released later.