Page last updated at 13:25 GMT, Sunday, 11 May 2008 14:25 UK

Murdoch quits US newspaper fight

The office of the Newsday newspaper
The three-way fight for Newsday has become a head-to-head battle

Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation has withdrawn a bid to buy US newspaper Newsday only days after seemingly being in pole position to acquire it.

News Corp, whose titles include the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, had offered about $580m (297m) for the New York state-based organ.

However, stiff competition emerged from broadcaster Cablevision and rival newspaper magnate Mort Zuckerman.

A News Corp spokesman said the bid had become "uneconomical".

About turn

Its withdrawal came as a surprise given that as recently as Wednesday Mr Murdoch had said discussions about a deal were at a "pretty advanced" stage.

Cablevision is reported to have trumped News Corp's bid with an $650m offer and Newsday itself has reported that Cablevision is close to concluding a deal.

Mr Zuckerman, who owns the New York Daily News, is reported to have matched News Corp's $580m offer.

Newsday is published by the Tribune newspaper group, owner of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, which was bought by property tycoon Sam Zell last year.

News Corp's focus on the US newspaper market has intensified in the past 18 months, during which it clinched a $5bn deal to buy the Wall Street Journal after a bitter struggle.

Newsday is the eighth-largest US newspaper, with daily circulation of about 380,000 copies.

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