News International PLC, controlled by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, won a bitter takeover battle for William Collins PLC, one of Britain's last independent publishing houses, company executives said Friday.

Collins, which owns 50 percent of U.S publisher Harper and Row Inc., had hoped a "white knight" bidder would emerge to top the Murdoch bid.But a rival offer collapsed Wednesday when the French Groupe de la Cite publishers withdrew, clearing the way for Murdoch's improved $721 million offer.

News International, which owns Fox Broadcasting Co., TV Guide and newspapers in the United States and abroad, raised its $526 million offer by 37 percent after the intervention by Groupe de la Cite.