Rupert Murdoch's media empire made an $80 billion takeover bid for Time Warner in recent weeks but was rebuffed, multiple media outlets reported Wednesday.
Shares of Time Warner stock surged 18% in premarket trading on the news.
The New York Times reports that the push by News Corp.'s Twenty-First Century Fox could put Time Warner in play and might again ignite a reshaping of the media industry, prompting a new spate of mega-mergers among the nation's largest entertainment companies.
CNBC also reported the takeover bid. Both media outlets, citing sources briefed on the proposed deal, said it was worth $85 per share in stock and cash. That translated to a premium of more than 20% at the time.
The Times notes that pressure could mount on Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes to negotiate, adding that about 70% of Time Warner shareholders -- including some massive mutual funds -- also own shares of Fox.
The Times said Fox estimated that deal could generate operating cost savings of $1 billion or more, mostly but cutting staff. Fox pledged to keep Time Warner's most successful managers and creative executives, the newspaper's sources said.
Time Warner's board, after lengthy discussions, sent a terse response saying the company could perform better standing alone, the Times said..
CNBC reported that Fox, concerned about antitrust pushback, planned to sell its CNN cable network. Chase Carey, Fox's president and CEO, met with Bewkes in early June in a failed effort to sell the deal -- but Murdoch remains determined to buy Time Warner, despite the board's rejection, sources told CNBC.