News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch told the Bear Stearns 21st Annual Media conference in Palm Beach, FL that he has become more pessimistic about the US economy in the past month and that ad sales for the Fox television stations are running about 5% behind expectations. However, he also noted that scatter prices for the Fox network are about 40% ahead of upfront prices and insisted that his company is in good shape to weather any recession.
Murdoch also said he will not get into any fight with Microsoft over Yahoo! – “they’ve got more money than us” he said of Microsoft. Murdoch had made it clear all along that News Corporation was not interested in buying Yahoo!, however the search engine company is believed to have had talks with News Corp. about a possible deal combining Yahoo! and some of News Corp.’s online assets, including MySpace, as a way to head off a hostile takeover by Microsoft.