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Time Warner Said to Reject Sale Plan While Other Bidders Tied Up

Time Warner Inc. isn’t interested in exploring a sale while potential suitors including Comcast Corp. and AT&T Inc. are busy with other deals and unable to bid for the media company, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

AT&T, Comcast and Verizon Communications Inc. are all logical buyers and could drive up the price for the company, this person said, asking not to be identified discussing private information.

The New York-based company, which rebuffed an offer from Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox Inc., isn’t in talks with any other potential buyers, this person said.

Time Warner plans to make a case for its independence directly to shareholders in the coming days, outlining a plan to create value without selling to Murdoch or another buyer, the person said. The company said today that it rejected Fox’s cash and stock offer, citing its own strategic plan, the value of its business portfolio, and uncertainty over the value of the Fox shares it was offered.

Fox is willing to increase its offer to more than $75 billion if the target is willing to begin talks, according to people with knowledge of the matter, a sign Murdoch is undeterred after the initial rejection.

Fox offered to pay 1.531 of its non-voting shares and $32.42 in cash for each share of Time Warner, the target said in today’s statement.

Time Warner shares rose about 16 percent to $82.08 as of 12:09 p.m. today, giving it a market value of about $72.4 billion.

Comcast is in the process of seeking regulatory approval for its plan to acquire cable-industry rival Time Warner Cable Inc. for $45 billion, while AT&T is seeking to buy DirecTV for $48 billion. Verizon in February completed its $130 billion purchase of Vodafone Group Plc’s minority stake in Verizon Wireless, reducing Verizon’s cash by $51 billion.

Comcast took control of NBCUniversal to add TV and movie programming to expand beyond its cable network operations into programming. AT&T has taken small steps to get its own video content, striking a deal this year with the Chernin Group to invest in online streaming media.

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