James Murdoch spoke publicly about the Shine/Endemol merger yesterday at MIPCOM.
Referring to the deal, which was announced last week, the 21st Century Fox COO said that the while the combined production and distribution business will benefit from enormous scale, the parent company does not want to “over-synergise”.
“We want to create a larger canvas for them and a larger platform,” Murdoch said in his MIPCOM keynote. He added that while the new business will benefit from the scale and breadth it has that “you can’t over-synergise; you have to allow people to run their own show”.
The merger will see Fox-owned Shine and Apollo Global Management owned production groups Endemol and Core Media brought together to create a giant content business that has major assets in all aspects of programming production and distribution.
Murdoch also addressed the Sky Europe deal, which sees the Sky platforms in the UK, Germany and Italy combined.
“We always said the Skys would be stronger together than apart,” he said. “Each one has done incredible work at different points in their lifecycle and we think the combined entity will be faster and better.”
He added that the pay TV businesses will produce and coproduce more original content.
Sky Deutschland recently moved into original programming and Sky Italia has also started coproducing and commissioning originals. In the UK, BSkyB has made a £600 million (US$957 million) commitment to original programming.
In the US, meanwhile, Murdoch said that the programming investment at 21st Century’s cable channels was having a financial impact. “We’re investing a lot in original programming and that is delaying some profit for us, particularly at FX and FXX.”
Murdoch also discussed 21st Century’s failed Time Warner deal, noting that the company walked away when the Time Warner board rejected its offer, and that it did not want to make a hostile takeover bid. He described the original US$80 billion offer as “opportunistic”.
In terms of other M&A activity, the 21st Century boss added: “We’re a good size, we don’t see a lot of gaps.”