Lachlan Murdoch to Be New Fox CEO After Proposed Disney Deal

(Bloomberg) -- 21st Century Fox Inc.’s Lachlan Murdoch, the eldest son of media magnate Rupert Murdoch, plans to take the helm of the remaining business following a proposed deal to sell most of its entertainment assets to Walt Disney Co.

The executive will assume both the CEO and chairman jobs at the company, which is being referred to as New Fox. Rupert Murdoch will become co-chairman, alongside his son. John Nallen, currently Fox’s chief financial officer, will take on the expanded role of chief operating officer.

The widely expected move comes as Fox tries to complete the Disney deal, which involves selling about $52 billion of entertainment assets. But the matter may not be settled. Comcast Corp., the largest U.S. cable channel, is said to be preparing financing for a potential counterbid for the Fox operations.

The current Fox chief executive officer, James Murdoch, wasn’t mentioned in Wednesday’s statement. He’s expected to move on after the deal with Disney is completed, pursuing his interests in areas such as technology investments.

Fox is preparing for a future without its film and TV studios, as well as cable channels such as FX and National Geographic. It looks to become a leaner business focused on Fox News, cable sports networks and local TV. Toward that end, it agreed to acquire seven stations from Sinclair Broadcast Group this month.

Rupert Murdoch, 87, has spent decades as one of the world’s most influential media moguls. The future of his vast holdings has been a source of longstanding debate within the industry. Though the Disney deal gives his son less territory to command, it still includes significant sports, entertainment and news assets.

“We have worked through the winter ‘standing up’ a reimagined independent Fox,” Lachlan Murdoch 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.”

Lachlan Murdoch has been Fox’s executive chairman since 2015. The 46-year-old previously served as co-chairman and held various roles within his father’s empire, including chairman of Fox TV stations and publisher of the New York Post.

Another possible wild card for Fox is an attempt to buy the portion of U.K. satellite broadcaster Sky Plc that it doesn’t already own. But Comcast submitted a higher bid for the business last month.

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