That huge sigh of relief heard along a wide swath of media world today belonged to anyone who stood to be affected by a take over of Time Warner by Fox mogul Rupert Murdoch — in other words, everyone — as Murdoch formally rescinded his 80 million-dollar-plus bid to merge Time Warner with his own media empire.

The ramifications of such a move likely would have been incalculable: in an industry with the sweeping breadth of a media conglomerate including cable news, cable entertainment, film and publishing, all sectors of the media landscape would have undergone speculation and set off another round of merger mania.

Had Murdoch’s offer been successful, 21st Century Fox, Fox Searchlight, Warner Bros. films would all have been owned by the Australian-born media baron. He would have controlled not only Fox News Channel but also CNN — in effect changing the editorial control of a major source of world news not only for the American but international consumer as well.

The merger would have created what efficiency experts love to call redundant personnel as many departments would have provided duplication of services across the behemoth that would have resulted in the acquisition. Thousands of lay offs would have followed, again affecting every sector of the economy since those jobs are placed in multiple regions and cities around the country.

Murdoch issued a statement citing shareholder value as an essential factor in withdrawing his offer. The company will buy back some six million of its own shares in the wake of this announcement.

Time Warner stock declined nearly ten per cent on the news. Fox shares rose more than eight per cent.

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