News Corp. not in talks with Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL

But media empire says it would respond accordingly to any propositions

News Corp. has no plans to jump in and rescue Yahoo now that Microsoft has walked away from its US$47.5 billion takeover bid of the Internet company, News Corp.'s COO said during a mid-week earnings conference call.

In the days leading up to Microsoft's bid withdrawal, reports surfaced indicating that Yahoo was in talks with Time Warner to combine its Internet operations with AOL in an effort to thwart Microsoft's bid. At the same time, News Corp., owned by Rupert Murdoch, was said to be in talks with Microsoft to jointly bid for Yahoo.

However, when asked this week if News Corp. was in talks with Yahoo or AOL, COO Peter Chernin said he had not had talks with the two companies for a couple weeks.

"To say talks have cooled overstates them," he said. "We have regular conversations with everyone in the space. I'm not sure I would ever characterize them as talks. We will always look at strategic options, but we feel very comfortable with our current positioning."

Chernin added that News Corp. has not had talks with Microsoft, either. However, he said News Corp. would respond accordingly to any propositions that it thought did, or didn't, make sense for the company.

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Linda Rosencrance

Computerworld

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