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Twenty-First Century Fox Inc
is willing to pay more than US$75
billion for Time Warner Inc,
according to people with knowl-
edge of the matter, a sign Rupert
Murdoch is undeterred after being
rebuffed in an initial offer for the
Time Warner shares soared.
Fox's willingness to raise its offer
higher than US$85 a share is con-
tingent on Time Warner engaging
in talks and opening its books to
Fox, according to one of the people,
who said Murdoch hasn't been
directly involved in discussions. A
deal would reshape the media
industry by giving the TV-and-
film companies bargaining power
in negotiations with cable operators
such as Comcast Corp and Time
Warner Cable Inc, which are in
the process of their own merger.
Fox calculates the combined
company could achieve more than
US$1 billion in cost savings, includ-
ing through the elimination of
overlapping back office, human
resources, sales and information
technology operations, said one of
the people, who asked not to be
identified because the information
is private. Fox estimates that figure
could go higher once it's able to
conduct due diligence on Time
Warner, the person said.
"Having more cable networks
would give them more negotiating
leverage with distributors." said
Brett Harriss, an analyst at Gabelli
and Company in Rye, New York.
"They get the Ebitda, they get the
cash flow and business, they take
billions of dollars of synergies," he
said, referring to earnings before
interest, tax, depreciation and
By making a higher offer, Fox
would seek to pull in Time Warner
assets such as the TNT and TBS
cable networks and premium chan-
nel HBO to add to its own stable
of media properties, including the
Fox movie studio, broadcast net-
work and 24-hour news channel.
While TBS is alluring to Fox,
HBO is seen as a major attraction
and is being valued at US$20 bil-
lion, according to one of the people
with knowledge of the matter. Fox
views Time Warner's revenue
growth potential in HBO and inter-
national properties, the person
Murdoch open to bid above
US$75b for Time Warner Bank of America Corp said sec-
ond-quarter profit fell 43 per cent, a
bigger decline than analysts had
expected, after the bank posted US$4
billion of litigation expenses linked
to mortgage disputes following the
The expenses included a US$650
million settlement with American
International Group and money it set
aside for an expected settlement with
the Department of Justice. Bank of
America has already agreed to pay
US$50 billion to settle disagreements
stemming from the market meltdown
The bank's shares fell 1.9 per cent
to US$15.50 in early afternoon trad-
The expenses far exceeded the
US$471 million in legal charges the
bank posted in last year's second quar-
ter, although it was less than the US$6
billion it recorded in this year's first
Higher legal costs overshadowed the
increased profits that many of the
bank's main businesses posted. Retail
banking earnings, including credit
cards, rose 28.5 per cent to US$1.79
billion. Commercial and investment
banking profit rose 4.3 per cent to
US$13.5 billion, thanks in part to a
record quarter in underwriting equi-
"The sins are seven years old and
the things that are going on in the
future look bright," said Bill Smead,
chief investment officer of Smead Cap-
ital Management, a Seattle-based
investment firm that owns around 2.6
million shares in Bank of America.
Sales and trading profit jumped
14.44 per cent to US$1.1 billion, helped
by a five per cent increase in revenue
in bond trading to US$2.4 billion,
excluding an accounting adjustment.
Higher revenues in trading corporate,
mortgage and municipal bonds help
Bank of America avoid the double-
digit declines in bond trading that
rivals JPMorgan Chase and Company
and Citigroup Inc experienced.
Litigation costs hit Bank of
America's quarterly profit
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