James Murdoch will reportedly hand over the reins of 21st Century Fox to brother Lachlan after the proposed deal with Walt Disney is finalised.
After the completion of 21st Century Fox’s sell-off to Walt Disney, Lachlan Murdoch will replace his younger brother James as CEO of the remaining business.
He will also become co-chairman of the so-called New Fox with his father — media tycoon Rupert Murdoch.
Current CFO, John Nallen, will move into the expanded role of COO, the company said in an emailed statement.
While it is not yet set in stone, Walt Disney agreed last December to purchase 21st Century Fox’s film, television and international assets for $US52.4 billion in stock, and would assume $13.7 billion in debt.
A late challenge has come from Comcast, the largest US cable network, which is understood to have met with financiers in preparation for a $60 billion all-cash bid for Fox’s entertainment package.
It will pounce if a US court approves AT&T’s comparable takeover of Time Warner.
Regardless of the buyer, if a merger is given the green light it appears James will step away from the company.
Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported the 45-year-old has plans to start his own venture capital fund, investing in media and technology start-ups.
The company is yet to comment publicly on his future but sources close to him told Reuters on Wednesday that he had made up his mind months ago.
Lachlan has been Fox’s executive chairman since 2015. The 46-year-old previously served as co-chairman and has been chairman of TV stations under its umbrella, as well as publisher of the New York Post.
He says he’s excited about leading the “reimagined” and scaled-down business, focused on Fox News, cable sports networks and local TV.
“We have worked through the [northern hemisphere] winter ‘standing up’ a reimagined independent Fox,” he said in the statement.
“We look forward to making further announcements as to the management and structure of this new Fox as we get closer to closing our proposed transaction with Disney.”