News Corp. (NWSA:US) Chairman Rupert Murdoch said he doubts a bid by the Chandler family for Tribune Co., the second-largest U.S. newspaper company, will succeed.
``I don't really believe it's going to happen,'' Murdoch said at a McGraw-Hill Cos. media conference in New York today.
Murdoch said yesterday he was interested in joining the Chandlers, who are Tribune's largest shareholders, in an offer that would give the family control of Tribune's 11 newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times and Newsday, based on Long Island, New York.
News Corp.'s interest would be limited to combining the printing and administrative functions of News Corp.'s New York Post with Tribune's Newsday. ``We don't want the whole thing,'' Murdoch said today.
Shares in Tribune, second in newspapers to Gannett Co. (GCI:US), fell 3 cents to $30.92 at 4:03 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The stock has fallen about 9 percent since it put itself up for sale in September.
The Chandlers, who control 20 percent of Tribune through family trusts, offered $7.6 billion for the company. Billionaires Eli Broad and Ron Burkle also made an offer, as well as the Carlyle Group private-equity firm.
``Economics are getting more difficult for newspapers all the time,'' Murdoch said. ``The problem for newspapers is that young readership is going down.''
Class A shares of New York-based News Corp., which owns more than 175 newspapers, a majority of them in Australia, gained 60 cents to $23.94 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. They've gained 51 percent in the past year.
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