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Murdoch's Time Warner Bid Makes Waves for Media Stocks

Rupert Murdoch’s more than $75 billion pursuit of Time Warner (TWX) is sending waves through the stock market today, pushing up the price of content companies as the industry contemplates other potential mega-deals.

 Time Warner spiked the most of any company in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, gaining nearly 17 percent, the most in more than 14 years. Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox (FOXA) is willing to offer more than $85 per share for the conglomerate, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

That could kick off a round of consolidation among media properties. Any such deal would potentially include a sale of Time Warner’s CNN news channel, both to placate regulators and avoid a conflict with Fox’s Fox News product, establishing a price tag for a global television brand. Murdoch is said to be after the critical and financial darling HBO, the jewel in Time Warner’s crown, which is making $1.3 billion per quarter.

Discovery Communications (DISCA)—which operates the Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, and additional networks —jumped the most in four years, up 7.4 percent on Wednesday. Viacom (VIA), which has MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, and other channels, climbed 4.5 percent, and CBS (CBS) was up 2.2 percent.

The exception to this pattern is Fox itself: Shares are down 2.8 percent.

Nick Summers covers Wall Street and finance for Bloomberg Businessweek. Twitter: @nicksummers.

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