Fox Corp. Won't Reunite With News Corp, CEO Lachlan Murdoch Says
Fox will consider deals, but only ones that won't push it into areas that get it too far beyond its focus on news, entertainment and sports.
The new Fox Corporation, which includes the Fox broadcasting network, Fox News, Fox Sports and the Fox Television Stations unit, will not reunite with News Corp, but explore possible deals that can help its goal of being a growth company, chairman and CEO Lachlan Murdoch said at its investor day in New York on Thursday.
Outlining the company's thinking about possible acquisitions, he said Fox will consider deals, but only ones that won't push it into areas that get it too far beyond its focus on news, entertainment and sports.
The Murdochs a few years ago decided to split News Corp. and the Fox entertainment assets, with Rupert Murdoch serving as executive chairman of News Corp and chairman of Fox. Some bankers and analysts have been wondering whether the news focus on the new Fox could lead to a merger with News Corp.
COO John Nallen early in the investor day also emphasized the focus on core businesses. Highlighting that was no major acquisition opportunity on the horizon, he said that the firm wouldn't go far afield if a takeover opportunity comes along. "What we’ll do is stay close to … our existing expertise," Nallen said.
He also reiterated comments from Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch that Fox is looking to be a growth company with a long-term view. "We are not running to sell it," he said.
Fox recently adopted a temporary "poison pill" against hostile takeover attempts, which is set to expire following the next annual meeting of stockholders. It would kick in "if a person or group obtains beneficial ownership of 15 percent or more of the Class B common stock outstanding, or 15 percent or more of the common stock outstanding." Such provisions are usually adopted against hostile takeover bids.
Fox emphasized that the move was "intended to protect the stockholders of the company ... from actions that the board of directors determines are not in the best interest of the company’s stockholders." It added: "The agreement is not intended to interfere with any merger, tender or exchange offer, share acquisition or other business combination transaction approved in advance by the board of directors, and the agreement does not prevent the board of directors from considering any offer that it considers to be in the best interest of the company’s stockholders."
The investor day, an official coming out of sorts for the company following the Disney deal, includes presentations by the company’s management team, led by Lachlan Murdoch, and is scheduled to wrap up by 1 p.m. ET. Speakers also include CFO Steve Tomsic and the leaders of various business units.
With Disney's investor day last month, where the Hollywood giant unveiled details of its upcoming Disney+ streaming service, a big hit with Wall Street, Fox is no doubt looking to wow analysts with a closer look underneath the hood of the new Fox.