OFFICIAL: News Corp Withdraws BSkyB Bid

What a bitter defeat for Rupert Murdoch. His News Corp this morning just finally made clear it has withdrawn its bid for full control of British Sky Broadcasting. The news comes as British lawmakers were about to demand that Murdoch give up his goal of taking complete control over the lucrative U.K. broadcaster in a $14 billion bid for the 61% of the pay-TV operator that News Corp doesn’t already own outright. News Corp wanted to get its hands on all the UK satellite giant’s swelling £5.7 billion ($9 billion) revenues. It would have cemented Rupert’s position as the most powerful media baron in Britain and this as the biggest deal of his storied career. So the decision to withdraw his bid can be seen as his biggest business debacle as BSkyB was the last and most important piece of his ambitious plan to control satellite TV across the globe. Here’s the official News Corp statement, which trots out Murdoch’s No. 2 Chase Carey for the first time, presumably because he’s the only News Corp top exec left unblemished by the phone-hacking scandal and its subsequent cover-up and fall-out:

News Corporation (“News Corp”) announces that it no longer intends to make an offer for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC (“BSkyB”) not already owned by it. Chase Carey, Deputy Chairman, President and Chief Operating Officer, News Corporation, commented: “We believed that the proposed acquisition of BSkyB by News Corporation would benefit both companies but it has become clear that it is too difficult to progress in this climate. News Corporation remains a committed long-term shareholder in BSkyB. We are proud of the success it has achieved and our contribution to it.”

The scandal sank a deal worth more than all of Murdoch’s papers combined. It was to have been approved at the start of last weekend but then was delayed until the Fall and then until 2012 because of the outcry. In an about-face today, British Prime Minister David Cameron put his party’s weight behind an opposition Labour Party motion up for a vote declaring that News Corp’s bid for full control of BSkyB would not be in the national interest. Meanwhile, Britain’s House of Commons was preparing to endorse a resolution urging Murdoch to withdraw his bid for BSkyB. Cameron told the body today that the scandal raised “serious questions” about the mogul’s fitness to run the country’s largest pay TV company. A government inquiry, he said, would consider “the way in which [News Corp] management failures may have allowed this to happen.” Leaders of all three major political parties are supporting the resolution, which would not be binding. But UK observers said it loomed as a powerful expression of the tide running against Murdoch’s newspapers. (more…)

This article was printed from