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New Fox to recommit to ‘old promise’

Senior 21st Century Fox executives have outlined their vision for the media giant’s new break-off entity following yesterday’s agreement to sell Fox’s major assets to Disney.

James Murdoch

Executive chairmen Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch, CEO James Murdoch and chief financial officer John Nallen joined a conference call to discuss the transactions, which totalled US$52.4bn, and set out their plans for a “new Fox” division, with a focus on returning to the company’s roots.

“The new Fox will be a growth company centred on live news and sports brands and the strength of the Fox network,” said Rupert Murdoch.

“We are pivoting at a pivotal moment. We have always made a commitment to deliver more choices for customers, providing great storytelling, objective news, challenging opinion and compelling sports, and are proud to recommit to that promise.”

The new Fox entity will be made up of Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox Sports, Fox Television Stations Group and sports cable networks FS1, FS2, Fox Deportes and Big Ten Network. It will also include the company’s studio lot in LA and equity investment in Roku.

While the merged business with Disney is about scaling up and extending the Mouse House’s reach, the call made it clear that the new Fox would have a focus on returning to the company’s origins as a “lean, aggressive challenger brand.”

“We’ve always been interested in game changers and we’re a business of change and challenge and never being complacent,” added James Murdoch, who has been tipped to take on a role at Disney. “This is a game changer like no other. Unlocking this opportunity is truly special.”

The deal will see Disney take over a US cable business that includes National Geographic, FX and FXX; a 30% stake in streaming service Hulu; a 50% stake in production giant Endemol Shine Group; and international operations including stakes in European satcaster Sky and Tata Sky in India.

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