Murdoch looking to combine News Corp and Fox News: report
Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch is looking to combine News Corp. and Fox Corp. into one single entity and reassemble a conservative media giant he split apart about a debate ago.
News Corp., which owns the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, announced in a news release on Friday the formation of a special committee that will explore a potential merger with Fox Corp., which runs Fox News and affiliated stations and media.
The committee formed shortly after Murdoch sent a letter to the board of directors, according to the release. News Corp. declined to offer any further details.
In 2013, Murdoch, now 91, split the two companies up following a decline in print newspaper profitability and about two years after a scandal led him to shut down the British tabloid News of the World.
Rupert Murdoch is the chairman of Fox Corp. and the executive chairman of News Corp., while his son Lachlan Murdoch is CEO of Fox and co-executive chairman of News Corp.
The merger would consolidate Lachlan’s power within his father’s empire, amid intense speculation the elder Murdoch’s succession strategy.
While Fox sold off its film studio 21st Century Fox to Disney, the company owns 29 affiliate stations across the U.S., streaming platform Tubi and shows on Fox Entertainment, among others.
News Corp., in addition to the Wall Street Journal and New York Post, owns British tabloids the Times of London, The Sun and outlets in Australia.
NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik, who has covered the Murdochs for years, said the move would put Rupert “back in the saddle of a consolidated empire, undaunted, as though the scandal at the U.K. tabloids never happened.”
He added that the companies believe “there’s a lot of synergies to be gotten from these two halves that were split apart and could come back together,” but he is skeptical there is any “great financial imperatives” for the consolidation.
Business analysts called the move a “head scratcher,” according to Bloomberg.
“There is likely to be some investor consternation about the thought process behind any combination of the two companies and the knee-jerk investor reaction is likely to be negative,” Kannan Venkateshwar, an analyst with Barclays Plc., said in a research note Sunday, per the outlet.
Updated: 9:40 a.m.