December 15, 2017 Last Updated 8:04 am

Media competitors prematurely claim end of Murdoch’s empire; Time Inc. slow to acknowledge sale of Golf magazine

Morning Brief: Gizmodo and Univision claimed a victory over Hulk Hogan-Gawker lawyer as a bankruptcy judge rules that defamation lawsuit over 2016 Deadspin story should not proceed

The announcements yesterday regarding the Rupert Murdoch empire and The New York Times reveal that the media business is no different than a medieval empire about to be divided up following the death of the king. While media might not be governed by primogeniture, it is close, and it is just as destructive.

Still, the two takes below I think seriously miss the mark. As if often the case with media M&A stories what is missing is any evaluation of the deal itself.

From my perspective, the old man got the better of Disney, selling out when he could, and hanging on to what he felt he could not live without. For Disney, the deal only works if they can grow the business they have acquired, have added something unique, or have eliminated a dangerous competitor. I don’t see this being the case.

What Murdoch has left is the heart of what matters to him: Fox News, his newspapers. Sure, the remnants are worth far less than what had been there before, but he got paid, and now his far less talented children can continue to enjoy the spoils of their media titan father.

It’s good to be born rich, and the US it will be a requirement for success going forward.

The New York Times. Amy Chozick:

Fox-Disney Deal Gives Rupert Murdoch His King Lear Moment

For a while, Rupert Murdoch seemed invincible.

First, the mogul emerged relatively unscathed from a 2011 phone hacking scandal involving his British tabloids that threatened to upend his empire. Then, he installed his sons, Lachlan and James, in leadership roles at 21st Century Fox. And, last year, the thrice-divorced Mr. Murdoch married Jerry Hall, a former supermodel 25 years his junior.

But even Mr. Murdoch, a self-made billionaire whose range of media assets wield enormous political influence on three continents, was no match for Silicon Valley.

Like King Lear confronting his mortality, Mr. Murdoch, 86, is preparing to divide up a lifetime of spoils. And as he moves to sell off wide swaths of his media and entertainment business, he is also throwing into confusion the line of succession and testing the ties that bind the family-run fief.

The Guardian, Editorial:

The Guardian view on Rupert Murdoch: a man out of time

It scarcely seems possible to think that Rupert Murdoch is walking away from the film and TV factories he spent a lifetime building. Yet on Wednesday the media mogul confirmed the rumours: he was out of the entertainment business – selling his Fox assets to Walt Disney, a bigger firm, in a $66bn deal. If the deal passes the regulatory hurdles, the Murdochs will be left with a 5% stake in the newly enlarged Disney company. This is a case of Mickey Mouse roaring and the Fox running. Battles are not won by retreating. Mr Murdoch has tasted defeat. He has turned away from popular culture, realizing perhaps that he could not dominate the landscape as he would have liked.

You win some you lose some. But you can be sure these lawyers will be back in court soon, taking on another media property.

Splinter News, David Uberti:

Judge Hands Gizmodo Media Group a Legal Victory Over Hulk Hogan’s Lawyer

A bankruptcy judge on Wednesday ruled that a defamation lawsuit over a 2016 Deadspin story should not proceed, handing Gizmodo Media Group and parent company Univision a victory against legal challenges to stories published by former Gawker Media blogs…

…Filed in New York State Court, the suit did not mention that the terms of the sale shielded Univision from being sued for stories published before the purchase, instead arguing that Bell sought “relief for post-sale conduct.” The implication was that Gizmodo Media Group had somehow re-published the article by keeping it alive on Deadspin.

“This argument is disingenuous,” wrote U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Stuart Bernstein, who’s overseeing Gawker Media’s bankruptcy proceedings.

Bell is represented by Charles Harder, who was also Hulk Hogan’s lawyer in the civil suit that sent Gawker Media into bankruptcy and out of existence last year.

It’s Friday and we’ve waiting to hear the official word on this, but still nothing.

On Monday, Geoff Shackelford, a senior writer for Golfweek, reported on his blog that Time Inc. had sold Golf magazine to investor Howard Milstein and Emigrant Capital.

The sale would not be a surprise, Golf was one of the titles that CEO Rich Battista mentioned would be sold. Sunset already has found a buyer, and a sale of Time Inc. UK could be announced soon. Still, it is odd that a full week would go by without word from Time Inc. Maybe that will come today.

It is rare that sales of properties would occur after a company itself had been sold off, but it shows that Meredith was not interested in all of Time Inc.’s titles and will gladly take the cash from the sale to pay down the debt it has accumulated with the acquisition of Time Inc.

Rumors are now swirling about the fate of the weeklies, will they be sold off (assuming buyers can be found), or traded off to the Koch brothers in exchange for their share of Meredith.

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