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.
Rupert Murdoch said Fox will be the only media company exclusively focused on the United States market and "on what America loves best-sports, news and entertainment". "The strengths of the new company, a leader in News, Sports and Entertainment, present truly unique opportunities", Lachlan Murdoch said.
James Murdoch, Lachlan's 45-year-old brother, now helms Fox.
John Nallen, the current company's CFO, will become COO of new Fox. Fox's film and entertainment franchises, which include "The Simpsons", "X-Men" and "Avatar", will be owned by Disney.
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The company remaining after selling the media assets will contain Fox News, Fox Business, Fox Broadcasting, Fox Sports, the TV stations group and cable sports networks including FS1, FS2, Fox Deportes and Big Ten Network. Speculation about James at the time of the deal centered on a possible role at Disney, where CEO Bob Iger's contract had been slated to end in 2019, and an heir apparent was not in place.
Fox is preparing for a future without its film and TV studios, as well as cable channels such as FX and National Geographic. But the Wall Street Journal reported last week that James would not join Disney, and instead would likely start a venture capital fund. However, Comcast has let it be known that it is strongly considering mounting a rival bid for the 21st Century Fox assets.
"The new Fox will begin as the only media company exclusively focused on the domestic market; focused on what Americans love best - sports, news and entertainment, built and delivered for a USA audience", said Rupert Murdoch.
In 2013, Fox was separated from Murdoch's News Corp., which retained newspaper operations in the US, Britain and Australia.