National News

Why Murdoch wants Time Warner: leverage

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-07-16 11:27

As chairman of 21st Century Fox, Rupert Murdoch owns many things: cable networks, a broadcast network and a big movie studio. As head of News Corp. he also owns some newspapers and a book publishing house. Now he’s also made a bid for Time Warner, which owns HBO, other cable networks and another big movie studio. Time Warner has turned him down, for now, but it’s worth asking what he wants with it.

Analysts say Time Warner has finally shrunk itself to the exact right size and shape for someone like Rupert Murdoch to be interested in it.

“Time Warner used to have AOL as part of its portfolio— that’s no longer true,” says Jim Goss, managing director of Barrington Research. “It obviously had Time Inc., the magazine publishing group, but as of about a month ago, that’s no longer true.”

Most importantly, Comcast's proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable creates a huge potential adversary on the other side of the bargaining table: Distribution. That’s Murdoch’s adversary too.

Together, the two media companies gain clout. “Fox with Time Warner would have incontestable leverage against any distributor in terms of audience demand,” says Porter Bibb, managing partner at Mediatech Capital Partners. “People would go beserk if they couldn’t get what Fox would own.”

Think: Game of Thrones. And sports: Turner Broadcasting has a lot of NBA games.

Conventional wisdom holds that this marks the beginning of a long campaign. Over a decades-long career, Murdoch has pursued other deals relentlessly.

“He likes to win,” says Samuel Craig from NYU’s Stern School of Business. “I think he’ll persist.”  

Craig says Murdoch may find allies on the other side of the table. “I think when the shareholders of Time-Warner look at it — and the price goes up a bit — they may say, ‘This is a pretty good deal, and we should do it.’”   

Syria's Army On The Verge Of Retaking The Country's Largest City

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-16 11:06

Rebels captured the eastern half of Aleppo, the country's biggest city, two years ago. Now President Assad's army looks likely to drive them out in what would be a major blow to the opposition.

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Democratic Effort To Override Hobby Lobby Ruling Fails

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-16 10:35

A bill to require employers to pay for birth control did not pass a procedural vote in the Senate. The vote may have been held largely to put GOP senators on record on the issue.

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Cory Booker Wants To Help Ex-Offenders Be Economically Productive

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-16 10:27

Sens. Cory Booker and Rand Paul have proposed legislation that would overhaul the American criminal justice system. For more about the REDEEM act, guest host Jacki Lyden speaks with Booker.

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Arts Program Makes Israeli And Palestinian Youth Hopeful For Future

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-16 10:27

The most recent violence between the Israelis and Palestinians has affected young people on both sides of the conflict. Guest host Jacki Lyden learns how one group is using art to foster peace.

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Don't Fire The Comcast Guy, Says Caller Who Tried To Cancel

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-16 10:20

The man whose frustrating call to Comcast went viral says the customer service rep should not be fired. Ryan Block says the problem he encountered is far more systemic than one person.

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Not So Offal: Why Bone Soup, A 'Perfect Food,' Tastes So Meaty

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-16 10:09

After a taste of Singaporean sup tulang, we felt compelled to unpack what makes marrow so profoundly delicious. A biochemist says its unique combination of volatile compounds create a wallop of umami.

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Viola Davis Gets Groundbreaking Role As ABC Bets On Diversity

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-16 08:51

This fall, ABC will offer its most ethnically diverse slate of new shows in recent memory. But getting people to talk freely about why that's happened is still difficult.

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Casino Boat Runs Aground Off Georgia Coast In Maiden Voyage

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-16 07:52

So far, the Coast Guard has been unable to move the boat. Passengers who have been stuck for hours are now being evacuated by small boats and helicopter.

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Neil Whosis? What You Don't Know About The 1969 Moon Landing

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-16 07:51

The year he landed on the moon, astronaut Neil Armstrong was famous, iconic, an American hero. One year later he wasn't. In 1970, how many people remembered his name? This will surprise you.

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Move Over Hong Kong: The World's Priciest Cities Are In Angola And Chad

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-16 07:45

A new survey of the most expensive cities in the world puts Luanda and N'djamena at the top. How did these African capitals beat our perennial top dollar towns like Hong Kong and Tokyo?

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Palin's Call For Impeachment Reopens Debate Over ... Sarah Palin

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-16 07:45

The former Alaska governor hasn't done any favors for Republicans who've been trying to channel anger at President Obama in directions that might do the GOP more good.

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A Huge New Crater Is Found In Siberia, And The Theories Fly

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-16 07:40

The crater is estimated at 262 feet wide and is in the northern Siberian area of Yamal, a name The Siberian Times says roughly translates as "the end of the world."

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A Dozen People Killed As Typhoon Batters The Philippines

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-16 06:43

Mass evacuations helped limit the death toll from Rammasun as it passed through densely populated areas. The government was better prepared following a killer storm last fall.

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Nepalis Treat This Peace Corps Volunteer Like Justin Bieber

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-16 06:26

And that's not necessarily a good thing. Our blogger reveals the darkly funny side of being a local celebrity who's trying (and not always succeeding) to improve health, nutrition and income.

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Death, Sex And A Glimmer Of Hope: Reporting On Ebola From Sierra Leone

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-16 06:05

How does a town cope with Ebola? One man tries to honor his mother's burial wishes, despite objections. People are afraid to touch. Despite the gloom, there's a hopeful note: Five patients are cured.

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New Hampshire Says It Will Now Allow D.C. Residents To Buy Booze

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-16 05:40

Last week, a group of Washingtonians visiting New Hampshire were told they couldn't buy alcohol because their IDs weren't from a state.

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Murdoch Confirms A Spurned Bid For Time Warner

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-16 04:54

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox says that it sought to buy Time Warner last month, confirming an offer said to be worth $80 billion.

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EEOC Announces Tougher Rules Protecting Pregnant Workers

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-16 04:28

Discrimination against female workers who might get pregnant in the future, or have been pregnant in the past, is against the law, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says.

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