[NEW YORK] Time Warner Inc's board, in rejecting 21st Century Fox Inc's US$80 billion bid, insisted the offer undervalued the media conglomerate and raised fears about the dominating role that Rupert Murdoch's family would play, a person close to the situation said on Wednesday.
The board worried about the future value of Fox's shares, which represented 60 per cent of the cash-and-stock proposal. Those fears were magnified by the lack of voting rights that would come with the shares, the source said, as that would concentrate too much power in the hands of Murdoch and his sons.
The board's misgivings suggest the 83-year-old Murdoch faces a long, bruising battle in his bid to remake the global media landscape by swallowing Time Warner. "To do a merger of this scale and size where Time Warner shareholders have no insight into the destiny of the company is very troubling," the source, who was not authorized to speak on the record, told Reuters. "Rupert is clear that he wants his sons to take over for him and that's a real risk for Time Warner shareholders," the person said, referring to James and Lachlan Murdoch.
The elder Murdoch's proposal, fresh on the heels of his high-profile divorce and a damaging phone-hacking scandal involving his British tabloids, is staggering even for a media mogul whose ambitions are legendary.