Twenty-First Century Fox denies report it held takeover talks with Discovery

Sun Feb 22, 2015 10:21pm EST
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(Reuters) - Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox Inc held preliminary takeover talks with Discovery Communications Inc with a view to creating a $100 billion entertainment giant, the Australian Financial Review reported on Monday.

Fox, which like other broadcasters is battling a shift to on-demand TV, denied there had been any talks with Discovery, which owns Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel.

"No truth, not even any sort of talks", said John Connolly, a spokesman for the company in Australia. "There is no truth in the rumors."

The AFR reported senior executives from both companies met about two weeks ago to discuss a potential takeover bid, citing unnamed sources close to the situation.

The discussions were "nascent", and there was no guarantee that a formal offer would be made or that discussions have continued, it said.

Discovery declined to comment on the report.

(Reporting by Lincoln Feast and Byron Kaye in Sydney; Editing by Ian Geoghegan)

Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of News Corporation, reacts during a panel discussion at the B20 meeting of company CEOs in Sydney, July 17, 2014.REUTERS/Jason Reed