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Rupert Murdoch is considering whether to recombine his media empire.
The 91-year-old media mogul is contemplating a merger of Fox Corp. and News Corp, a deal that — if it happens — would bring the entertainment and media brands together a decade after they were split apart. Fox and News Corp said Friday they have each formed a special committee to explore a combination.
And both Fox and News Corp cautioned that there’d been no decision yet made as to a merger. News Corp stated its committee “has not made any determination with respect to any such potential combination at this time, and there can be no certainty that the Company will engage in such a transaction.”
Fox Corp. owns the Fox broadcast network, Fox News and 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. The Fox and News Corp statements confirming the exploration of a merger followed a report in the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal outlining the move.
All of the businesses were previously housed under the News Corp. banner until the company split apart in 2013. Fox ultimately sold most of its entertainment assets to The Walt Disney Co. in a $71 billion deal in 2019.
As reported by the Journal, the boards of Fox and News Corp have established special committees to evaluate the potential deal, or to consider other strategic alternatives.
Rupert Murdoch serves as executive chairman of News Corp and chairman of Fox Corp., while his son Lachlan Murdoch serves as CEO of Fox Corp., and as co-chairman of News Corp. News Corp is led by CEO Robert Thomson.
Rupert Murdoch, and his family trust, control approximately a 39 percent voting stake in News Corp and 42 percent of Fox Corp., giving him significant leverage over the company’s strategy.
Murdoch inherited his father’s Australian newspaper company and took it global, building a U.K. news business and subsequently a U.S. newspaper business. he entered the entertainment world in 1984 when the company acquired the 20th Century Fox film studio, and launched the Fox broadcast network in 1986, challenging the “Big 3” networks of NBC, ABC and CBS.
Over the years the company expanded through acquisitions (like Dow Jones and the Journal in 2007) and through original creations like Fox News Channel, which launched in 1996 and has since become a dominating force on the cable news (and television) landscape.
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