Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Corp & News Corp explore potential merger

Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch has started proceedings that could see Fox Corp and News Corp join forces, reversing a decade-old split.

Murdoch’s family owns almost 40% of voting shares in News Corp and around 42% of shares in Fox Corp, with both companies confirming on Friday that a “special committee” had been formed to explore a potential merger.

The companies added that no final decision has been made, but a merger would follow similar moves by Shari Redstone’s Viacom and CBS, as US media outfits seek heft to compete with tech giants such as Apple and Amazon.

Murdoch, 91, split apart his media empire in 2013 in the wake of the ongoing phone hacking scandal in the UK, before selling off the majority of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets to Disney for $71bn in 2019.

Since then, Fox Corp has been steadily building back its business, which comprises the flagship US network, as well as Fox News and Fox Sports. The company has also been expanding its production capabilities, launching Fox Alternative Entertainment, teaming with celeb chef Gordon Ramsay on Studio Ramsay Global and returning to international distribution.

There have also been exec rejigs, with Rob Wade upped to become president at Fox Entertainment earlier this month after Charlie Collier moved to Roku.

News Corp, meanwhile, is home to The Sun and The Times publisher News UK, as well as The Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and Australian pay-TV outfit Foxtel.

Murdoch is exec chairman at News Corp (whose CEO is Robert Thomson) and chairman of Fox Corp, while his son Lachlan Murdoch is co-chairman at News Corp and CEO of Fox Corp.

In a memo to staff, Lachlan Murdoch wrote: “As a company, we are always exploring opportunities to strengthen and grow our business, particularly at a time of such dynamic change in the media industry.

“However, I want to emphasise 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.”

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