Murdoch-owned media company’s share price shoots up after the news was first reported by CNBC
Cable and media giant Comcast has reportedly approached 21st Century Fox about a possible acquisition, a move that comes after Disney was also reported to be circling Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.
21st Century Fox’s share price shot up in after-hours trading following the news on Thursday, first reported by CNBC. It is unclear whether the cablecompany is exploring a purchase of all or part of Fox, which owns Hollywood studios 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight as well as the Fox news and sports channels.
Comcast is the US’s largest broadband cable provider and also owns the NBC network, Universal studios and other assests, so any deal would probably draw the attention of the competition authorities.
Disney’s approach to Fox reportedly involved the sale of its movie and TV studio and not its news and sports networks or the Fox broadcast network. Comcast is reportedly interested in the same assets that were discussed with Disney.
A merger would reshape the media landscape during a period of seismic change in the industry as the traditional media players increasingly compete for viewers with Amazon, Apple, Google, Netflix and other tech companies.
Time Warner is currently negotiating a takeover by telecoms company AT&T which has stalled after the justice department called on the companies to sell assets including CNN in order to secure the $85.4bn takeover.
Earlier this month Fox’s executive chairman, Lachlan Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s oldest son, declined to talk about the Disney merger in a call with analysts. But he said the company had “the required scale to continue to both execute on our aggressive growth strategy and deliver significant increased returns to shareholders. Sub-scale players are finding it difficult to leverage their position on to new and emerging video platforms,” he said. “Let me be very clear: we are not in that category.”
A sale would probably leave the Murdoch media empire as a focused news concern, retaining its news and sport TV assets and News Corp, which controls its newspaper and online news brands.
A sale would come as the Murdochs struggle to secure full control of Sky, the British satellite television company. That £11.7bn ($15.41bn) is being held up byregulators’ concerns about media ownership in the UK and the Murdochs’ commitment to broadcasting standards.
Fox and Comcast both declined to comment.