Australian-born Rupert Murdoch is putting his money where his mouth is in his bold bid to take over Time Warner.
The media conglomerate, which is home to Warner Brothers movie studio and popular TV producer HBO, has reportedly rejected a bid from Murdoch’s Twentieth Century Fox to pay $US80 billion ($A85 billion) but reports today suggest Murdoch is willing to go higher.
The 83-year-old media mogul could find himself in a bidding war for the company, and will have to combat fierce resistance from Time Warner itself.
But if there’s anything to learn from Murdoch’s colourful business career, it’s that he doesn’t give up easily.
Here are five of the billionaire’s boldest plays to build his powerful empire:
1. Splitting his publishing and media empire in two in 2013
Murdoch spent most of his career operating a media empire which included both entertainment assets and his first love, newspapers. But this changed last year when he officially split News Corporation into two companies.
His publishing assets, including newspapers and book publishing giant HarperCollins, now operate under the News Corporation name, while the faster-growing and more profitable entertainment division operates under the name Twentieth Century Fox.
Murdoch serves as chairman of both companies.
2. Buy up big in Australian Pay TV
In 2012, Murdoch strengthened his position in the Australian pay TV market considerably by paying more than $2 billion for Consolidated Media Holdings from James Packer.
The deal gave News Corporation full control of FOX Sports, 50% of FOXTEL and a minority stake of Seek Asia.
3. Spending $US580 million on social media platform Myspace in 2005
Murdoch is known for his willingness to enter new industries, and long before he joined the Twitter conversation, he purchased the company which owned Myspace.com in 2005.
Unfortunately the deal didn’t pay off, with Myspace users eventually flocking to Facebook. Murdoch’s News Corporation sold MySpace in 2011 for $US35 million.
4. Taking a punt on satellite TV in the US
In 2003, News Corporation became one of the only media companies in the US to both create and distribute television content by buying a 34% state in Hughes Electronics, the operator of DirecTV, from General Motors and other shareholders for $US6.6 billion.
5. Snapping up Twentieth Century Fox and TV station operator Metromedia in the mid-1980s
Before 1985, Murdoch’s focus was on building his newspaper empire, which began in 1954 when he took control of News Limited, which at the time had a majority interested in one newspaper in Adelaide. During the 1960s, Murdoch added the Daily Mirror, The Australian and The Sun newspaper in the UK to its register, and in the 1980s, acquired The Times and the Sunday Times, and HarperCollins.
By 1985, it was time for Murdoch to turn his hand to movies and television, purchasing Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation in 1985 and TV station operator Metromedia in 1986, for which he had to become a US citizen to gain regulatory approval.
They may have been risky moves but they ultimately paid off, as Murdoch leveraged and cross-fertilised his various media brands.
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