What’s next for Murdoch as he offloads entertainment businesses to Disney?

We can tell you that Disney is buying a big chunk of Rupert Murdoch’s Fox empire (studios, back catalogue and 39 per cent stake in Sky chiefly) for $60bn – that’s if US regulators allow, of course – but haven’t the faintest idea what Rupert will do next, as is the norm.

With Sky the wholesome Disney (officially The Walt Disney Company) is likely to be a more acceptable buyer than the Murdochs as far as UK regulators are concerned although the likelihood is that they will have to decide on the bid before Disney’s acquisition of the Fox assets is confirmed.

So where does this leave 86-year old Rupert and sons James and Lachlan?

The remaining Fox news and sports channels and News Corp, the spun-off company that owns The Times, the Sun and Wall Street Journal among other assets, are still substantial business and leave Rupert plenty of opportunity to keep making political mischief, the habit that (apart from making money) defines his long career.

What he’s done in exiting the entertainment business, ostensibly because the Murdochs feel they can’t compete with newbie rivals Amazon and Netflix, is get rid of the stuff he’s never been that bothered about.

As for James and Lachlan, James may find a role within Disney but Fox boss Bob Iger (above with Murdoch) is being markedly cagey on this one while Lachlan may end up as boss of News Corp.

As for Sky in the UK it may be pleased to end up as a Disney asset, not least because it too faces big challenges from the digital newcomers, some of whom may bid for its all-important (and monumentally expensive) Premier League football matches.

Murdoch’s timing isn’t always right (he paid $580m for MySpace in 2005 and, by his own admission, messed it up) and, arguably, he overpaid for Dow Jones too.

But it looks spot on here.

And some of the businesses Disney is buying may come back on the market at a lower cost as the media landscape changes.

You May Also Like

advertising featured Rupert Murdoch

About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
Share
Tweet
+1
Share