Rupert Murdoch is planning reunion of broadcaster Fox Corp and his publishing business News Corp – a decade after the entities were separated as he seeks greater control and to cut costs
- Rupert Murdoch is exploring whether to bring media companies News Corp. and Fox Corp. back together
- Murdoch, 91, Fox and News Corp. were split from one another in 2013
- Fox owns conservative network Fox News and Fox broadcasting
- News Corp. owns The Wall Street Journal, New York Post, Dow Jones and HarperCollins
- Special board committees have been formed by both companies to look into a possible deal and evaluate possible financial terms
- If merger happens it would recombine the media brands a decade after they split
- Murdoch is executive chairman of News Corp. and chairman of Fox Corp.
- His son Lachlan Murdoch is co-chairman of News Corp and executive chairman and chief executive of Fox Corp.
Rupert Murdoch has started a process that could reunite his media empire, News Corp and Fox Corp nearly a decade after the companies split
Rupert Murdoch started a process that could reunite his media empire, News Corp and Fox Corp disclosed on Friday, saying they would consider combining at his behest, nearly a decade after the companies split.
Both have formed special committees to review proposals of a potential combination, they said.
If a deal goes through, the combination will allow Murdoch greater control over his media assets and help the companies trim costs.
Media companies are fighting decades-low growth in advertising sales and for users’ attention against deep-pocketed social media and content websites.
After years of expansion globally, Murdoch split his empire in 2013, placing the print business in newly created public entity News Corp and the TV and entertainment under 21st Century Fox.
The thinking at the time was that this would generate more value for shareholders, according to one person familiar with the decision-making.
Over decades, Murdoch built a vast publishing and entertainment empire, transforming an Australian newspaper company into a global media company that included newspapers, book publishing, film, TV and news
That vision was realized as Fox sold the bulk of its film and television assets including 21st Century Fox to Walt Disney Co for $71 billion in 2019.
The media landscape has changed radically in the years since Murdoch separated his media holdings, with technology companies such as Apple and Amazon.com Inc playing a significant role in distribution and bidding for sports rights.
It make sense, in this context, to reunite Fox and News Corp to create a company with complementary assets and greater scale, the person familiar with the proposal said.
Over decades, Murdoch built a vast publishing and entertainment empire, transforming an Australian newspaper company into a global media company that included newspapers, book publishing, film, TV and news.
The combined companies would have around $24 billion in revenue.
Fox Corp. owns the Fox broadcast network, Fox News, Fox Sports, among other ancillary businesses, while News Corp. houses The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones, News UK, the New York Post, Realtor.com, HarperCollins and the Australian pay-TV company FoxTel.
All of the businesses were previously housed under the News Corp. banner until the company split apart in 2013.
News Corp. has had steady trajectory in recent years. Following the Disney deal, Fox Corp., was far leaner while also lacking the company’s studio operations and stake in Hulu.
News Corp. has had steady trajectory in recent years. Following the Disney deal, Fox Corp., was far leaner while also lacking the company’s studio operations and stake in Hulu. Pictured, The News Corporation building on Avenue of the Americas in New York City
The TV and entertainment side of the company was housed under the 21st Century Fox name
Fox Corp., meanwhile, was a company focused on news and sports together with a string of local TV stations.
Fox News Channel continues to dominate the ratings and generate significant advertising revenue.
Fox Sports also performs well with with NFL ratings continuing to climb. Fox holds the rights to the World Cup and college football.
‘At News Corp, we are constantly pursuing ways to enhance our performance and expand our businesses, and the upheaval in media presents both challenges and opportunities,’ said News Corp. CEO Robert Thomson.
‘However, I would like to stress that the Special Committee has not made any determination at this time, and there can be no certainty that any transaction will result from its evaluation.’
News Corp. Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch, center, and his sons, Lachlan, left, and James Murdoch pictured in 2014. Murdoch, 91, currently has near-controlling stakes in both companies. His son Lachlan Murdoch is chairman and CEO of Fox Corp
Murdoch, 91, currently has near-controlling stakes in both the companies. His son Lachlan Murdoch is chairman and CEO of Fox Corp.
Should a merger occur, it would likely be through a stock deal.
As of market-close on Friday, News Corp had a market cap of $9.31 billion and Fox Corp was $16.84 billion.
News Corp shares surged 5% and Fox rose about 1% in after-market trade.
The development was first reported by the Wall Street Journal earlier in the day.
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