James Murdoch tipped as potential Disney boss as Fox deal nears sign-off

James Murdoch tipped as potential Disney boss as Fox deal nears sign-off

James Murdoch tipped as potential Disney boss as Fox deal nears sign-off

According to the LA Times, Disney's board would extend Iger's contract to help the company navigate the significant regulatory hurdles needed to finalize any Fox buyout deal, and to oversee integration of Fox properties within Disney.

Now a new wrinkle has come up as it is being reported that Disney now wants Fox to also sell their regional sports networks to Disney. (Both Fox and Disney declined to comment.) Any telecom or media giant's purchase of Fox would be the latest in a long line of mergers and acquisitions that have effectively consolidated media power in just a few entities; in recent years, Comcast acquired NBCUniversal and Verizon snapped up AOL (which owns the Huffington Post and a number of smaller publications) and Yahoo. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because the negotiations are confidential. On Tuesday, some news outlets had Mr. Murdoch's son James, the chief executive of 21st Century Fox, as a likely candidate.

Disney, which has a market value of around $166 billion, would acquire Fox's FX and National Geographic cable channels, its movie studio, the Star network in India and stake in European pay-TV provider Sky PLC.

Shares of Disney closed down 1.6 percent Wednesday. The deal will leave Fox with only its broadcast network, Fox Sports, and news and business divisions.

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Rumors of the deal first began circulating in early November.

"Once this deal closes, you could envision ESPN including a lot of out-of-region games to the ESPN+ app to make it a much more compelling subscription product than it will be when it launches in May", wrote Jackson in a guest commentary for CNBC.

Any potential deal would follow the US Department of Justice's decision to sue to block AT&T Inc's $85.4 billion deal to buy Time Warner Inc.

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