MediaFile

Yahoo rejected again (and again)

Yahoo: Shun me once, shame on you. Shun me three times in one day, shame on… uh, shame on all of you.

First, Google walked away from their search advertising partnership, saying that it had enough with interference from U.S. antitrust regulators. That’s no surprise — remember the deal was originally conceived as a way for Yahoo to fend off Microsoft’s takeover ambitions? On that score, Google can certainly say: mission accomplished.

Then, investors and bloggers started speculating that Google’s withdrawal could make room for Microsoft to return to the negotiating table. Shares of Yahoo jumped as much as 11 percent on rumors that the companies were in advanced talks … before several people familiar with the situation roundly denied that Microsoft was close to making an offer.

Finally, when News Corp was asked on its earnings call about the status of its previously reported discussions with Yahoo or Microsoft, Rupert Murdoch said, “There are no talks.”

That seems to leave Yahoo with only one possible partner: Time Warner’s AOL. The two companies are supposed to be in due diligence on a combination, but when questioned on its earnings call, Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes was vague:

Wolff opines on Murdoch… again

Can you tell it’s book-flacking time?

Vanity Fair is running the second excerpt from the forthcoming book that Michael Wolff wrote about News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch (this one centers on his family), and Wolff is making the rounds this week to talk about it. He was on CNBC moments ago, engaging in everyone’s favorite media parlor game: Parsing Murdoch’s every move like a multi-clause sentence. Friday’s appearance follows a panel discussion at a PaidContent.org conference earlier this week where he made similar remarks. Here’s what he said on CNBC.

What will Murdoch do after buying The Wall Street Journal? What’s his next move?

“I’m not sure that he exactly knows. One of the problems here is that he bought a newspaper and not only did he buy a newspaper, but if he had only waited six months to buy that newspaper he would have saved a billion and a half dollars.” (Nothing like hindsight, is there?)

Sumner Redstone: World could end tomorrow!

Step off — CBS and Viacom are not for sale!

That comes courtesy of Sumner Redstone, who should know since he holds a controlling stake in both of the media companies. Here’s what he told the Wall Street Journal in an interview:

Asked whether he would consider selling one of the companies, Mr. Redstone said: “Not a chance. I will not sell Viacom and I will not sell CBS. They’re two great companies.” He added: “We have no intention to sell any more stock and I’m decisive about that.”

Redstone’s interview with the Journal should help clear the air on much recent speculation about the future of Viacom and CBS — both suffering badly in the stock market. In the last month, shares of Viacom have dropped about 30 percent, while CBS shares have fallen a staggering 45 percent.

Murdoch, Bancroft & Murdoch Esq.

murdoch.jpgThe big topic at News Corp’s annual meeting in New York on Friday was how the international media conglomerate will weather the financial crisis as advertising revenue looks like it will be on the skids for a while.

For that, along with Chairman and Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch’s messages of resistance and hope in the face of financial scariness, see the story we ran on the wire earlier. MediaFile is more concerned with the younger generation that’s running News Corp these days.

So too are News Corp’s investors. One of them asked Murdoch how Natalie Bancroft — brought on to the board from the Bancroft family after it sold its controlling interest in Dow Jones (and The Wall Street Journal) to News Corp — would manage to be an effective director when she is better known as a “27-year-old, professionally trained opera singer based in Italy.”

Murdoch strikes again, this time in Esquire

Rupert MurdochEsquire magazine is running a Q&A with News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch, in which in the international media tycoon talks about his upbringing, what makes Murdoch Murdoch, his new crown jewel The Wall Street Journal, Fox News and a host of other subjects. Without further ado (warning: look out for some inappropriate language):

Murdoch on his political ideology and the crisis blowing through multiple financial institutions:

I’m not a knee-jerk conservative. I passionately believe in free markets and less government, but not to the point of being a libertarian. After this financial crisis, there are going to be some restrictions. I’m frightened they’ll go too far, but certainly there should be something.

Emeril tries fusion cuisine with Martha, Rupert

emerilRupert Murdoch’s children have the perfect gift to give to Dad come Father’s Day next year: a book on indoor and outdoor grilling by celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse that will come out on May 12, 2009. It’s the first entry in a 10-book project that Lagasse — now a member of the Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia franchise — prepared for HarperStudio, an imprint of book publisher and News Corp subsidiary HarperCollins.

HarperStudio will promote the book and his other titles written for HarperCollins with video, photography and blogs at its own website, as well as emerils.com, while Martha Stewart Living will market the books on its website and in its magazines, television and radio shows.

Among the recipes, according to the press release: Emeril’s Delmonico Bone-in Rib Steaks, Northern Italian Style Chicken Under a Brick, Grilled Pork Chops with Mixed Herb Chimichurri and Grilled Banana Splits.

Murdoch book to drop in Feb ’09

wolff-murdoch-book.JPGVanity Fair media scribe Michael Wolff spent hundreds of hours with News Corp Chief Rupert Murdoch and the people who love and hate him, so you don’t have to.

The fruits of his labor — “The Man Who Owns The News: Inside the Secret World of Rupert Murdoch” — hits shelves Feb. 17, 2009 for $27.95.

Here are a couple of things we’d like to know (in no particular order):
* Just how many more Dow Jones employees he plans to hire for its global expansion?

Waiting on the News Corp news

murdoch.jpgCome Tuesday, all eyes will be on News Corp.

The company’s earnings report should cast some more light on what’s happening in the media world – both in the United States and abroad. This is, after all, a media company with enormous reach and one whose shares have been hammered this year on worries about a slowdown.

For those who are impatient, Rupert Murdoch made some comments today that are worth noting. First and foremost, he said television advertising in the United States was good, despite a slowing economy (it’s easier to say that when your network is home to “American Idol”).

“Our advertisement on television and the Internet is very, very good, except for local television,” he said. “Cable networks are all sold out for 12 months,” he said, adding that Britain was holding up “very well”.

You gotta love Rupert, says Pearson’s Scardino

ft.jpgFor better or worse, Rupert Murdoch has made big changes to the look and feel of The Wall Street Journal. But whatever your take, it’s hard to dislike a man who loves newspapers so much, says Marjorie Scardino, CEO of Financial Times owner Pearson.

“He’s made a lot of changes,” Scardino told journalists on the day Pearson reported forecast-beating results, choosing her words carefully, but adding that the idea that editorial independence would be preserved at the Journal “didn’t last very long.”

Scardino said she didn’t envy the Journal its circulation of 2 million, about four times that of the FT, saying the FT was a “niche newspaper” with a lower cost base. She did, however, praise the journal’s managing editor, Robert Thomson, who just happens to be a former editor of the FT’s U.S. edition. Her verdict on Murdoch? “He loves newspapers. It’s hard to dislike a man for that.”  

Murdoch rising

rtrhqbh.jpgJames Murdoch, heir apparent to the News Corp empire, leapfrogged dad Rupert on the annual Guardian list of top 100 most powerful people in media.

James — who oversees the media empire’s Europe and Asia assets including British newspapers The Sun, Times, Sunday Times and News of the World – first suprised detractors by turning around BSkyB.

What we didn’t know was he’s also a black belt in karate. What we do know is he, like Rupert, rarely flinches from a fight. Ask the BBC, or Virgin Media. Like another mogul, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, he also dropped out of Harvard.