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Zaslav: Fox Rumors Untrue

Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav said Tuesday that reports that his company has held preliminary talks with 21st Century Fox Executives concerning a possible takeover were untrue, but added that the programmer has a long-standing relationship with 21st Century Fox.

Zaslav called into Fox Business Network’s Opening Bell with Maria Bartiromo, to congratulate the host on her one-year anniversary with the channel. Zaslav was once head of NBC Cable, which included CNBC, the network that launched Bartiromo’s career, and the two have been close friends for years.

After a few congratulatory exchanges, Bartiromo entered reporter’s mode, asking the Discovery chief is there was any truth to the speculation that the two companies held takeover talks. She added that 21st Century Fox had denied the reports.

“There is no truth to those rumors,” Zaslav said, adding that Discovery has worked together with Fox executives Rupert Murdoch, Lachlan Murdoch and Chase Carey on several projects in the past. and has a strong relationship wth the company.

“We looked at making some acquisitions together in Germany and Italy with Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland. We have a great relationship and we admire Fox,” Zaslav said.

The Australian Financial Review reported late Sunday that Fox executives met with Discovery officials about two weeks ago to discuss a possible takeover of the company, adding that talks were in the very early stages. Although some analysts have said a deal would make sense, a Fox spokesman called the AFR report “categorically untrue.”