Murdoch says he won’t buy Tribune papers

Rupert Murdoch tweeted Thursday night that he doesn’t plan to buy Tribune’s newspapers. He cited the FCC’s cross-ownership rules, which forbid the same person or entity from owning a print and a top broadcast property in the same market.

Poynter reported earlier this month that Murdoch’s News Corp was rumored to be assembling a bid for the Tribune Co. papers, which are set to spin off as a separate company next month.

Murdoch also runs 21st Century Fox, which owns and operates stations in several cities that overlap with Tribune papers, including Los Angeles and Chicago.

“I am not sure this amounts to ‘case closed,” Poynter’s Rick Edmonds wrote in an email. “My read is that Mr. Murdoch still wants the L.A. Times, still opposes the cross-ownership ban and might seek an exception or repeal.”

In May, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai told broadcasters, “I see no prospect that the FCC will bring all of its media ownership rules into the 21st century in the next couple of years.”

“Any easing of the media ownership rule would face fierce opposition from groups that say too much consolidation threatens a free press,” Amy Chozick reported in March 2013. “If Mr. Murdoch owned a major Hollywood studio and a newspaper known as the paper of record for the entertainment industry, it could spark additional skepticism.” But, she noted, Murdoch received a waiver to own the New York Post and WNYW in New York City. (Tribune has a waiver to own the Chicago Tribune, WGN-TV and WGN-AM.)

Murdoch told Meg James and Nicole Sperling of the Los Angeles Times in January 2013 a deal to buy the L.A. Times “won’t get through with the Democratic administration in place.”

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