Saturday, May 10, 2008

Murdoch’s out

So much for closing a deal with the “man of his word.” News Corp withdrew it’s $580M bid for Tribune Saturday morning. Murdoch indicated last week that he would not raise his price following the $650M bid offered by Cablevision. “It became uneconomical for us to continue,” said Teri Everett of Murdoch's News Corp.  

Zell needs a deal quickly. Revenues continue to decline as newspaper ad sales and circulation slide. With $1B in debt payments coming due this year, the Cablevision offer must certainly be more attractive, not just because its richer but because it won't face as many federal challenges as a News Corp. deal.

"I really think that Tribune is very focused on making sure that they work with someone who can get the deal closed," said Mike Simonton, a bond analyst from Chicago-based Fitch Ratings. "The regulatory and legislative uncertainty around cross ownership could have been playing a role in Tribune's thinking in terms of who to work with."

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