Rupert changes tack on ‘not optimal’ merger of Fox and News Corp

Rupert Murdoch has withdrawn a proposal to reunite News Corp and Fox Corp, indicating that he and his son Lachlan Murdoch, Fox Corp’s head, determined that a combination of the companies was “not optimal” for shareholders, according to a regulatory filing.

Jan 25, 2023, updated Jan 25, 2023
Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan.( Photo: Deadline)

Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan.( Photo: Deadline)

The deal would have reunited the media empire Murdoch split nearly a decade ago.

No offer was exchanged between News Corp and Fox Corp before merger deliberations were abandoned, according to sources familiar with the process, who said pushback from News Corp shareholders played a role in those plans being scrapped.

Murdoch proposed reuniting his media empire last fall, arguing that together the publishing and entertainment companies he split in 2013 would give the combined company greater scale in news, live sports and information, sources said on Tuesday.

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Several people close to the Murdochs viewed the effort to reunite the media companies as driven by the 91-year-old Murdoch’s succession planning to consolidate power behind Lachlan, a notion the company described as “absurd” in November.

Some of News Corp’s larger shareholders, including Independent Franchise Partners and T Rowe Price baulked at the idea.

In a letter to News Corp employees on Tuesday, News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson said: “In my note to you in October, I said the special committee assessment would have no impact on our current operations; that was indeed the case, and remains so following today’s announcement.”

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