NEW YORK: Rupert Murdoch’s son Lachlan would assume the role of chairman and chief executive at 21st Century Fox following the closing of a proposed deal to sell key portions of the media-entertainment group to Disney, the company said Wednesday.
Under the plan, 87-year-old Rupert Murdoch would be co-chairman of the streamlined media group.
The plan announced last year, which remains subject to regulatory approval, would give Disney the vaunted Fox Hollywood film and television studios, cable entertainment networks and international TV businesses.
The new Fox would included Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox Sports, Fox Television Stations Group, and sports cable networks.
“We have worked through the winter ‘standing up’ a reimagined independent Fox,” Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement.
“The strengths of the new company, a leader in news, sports and entertainment, present truly unique opportunities.”
The blockbuster $52 billion deal, which was announced in December, vastly reduces the Fox media empire built by Rupert Murdoch, leaving him and his family a more tightly focused group.
The deal has sparked concerns about too much concentration of power, giving Disney some 40 per cent of US box office revenues and a large chunk of television entertainment and sports channels.
In 2013, Fox was separated from Murdoch’s News Corp., which retained newspaper operations in the US, Britain and Australia.
While Rupert Murdoch has not withdrawn from the companies, he has been gradually turning over more authority to his sons Lachlan and James, who currently is CEO at 21st Century Fox.
Until now, Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch have shared the titled of executive chairman at Fox.
It was not immediately clear what if any role James Murdoch would play at the new Fox, but the Wall Street Journal reported he is likely to start a venture fund investing in digital and international media.
Some earlier reports said James Murdoch might move to Disney following the deal.