For the better part of this year, what seemed to dominate news of the business world in terms of major company takeovers is the grand deal between The Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox. Already approved by antitrust regulators and somewhere on the stage of finalization, this agreement would have Fox cede many of its primary media assets like Fox network and the 201th Century Fox film studios to Disney, with what was then left reorganizing itself into a new company in the aftermath. It is also now that “New Fox” has made clear who their executives will be.
Variety tells us that media giant Fox has gotten a handle on what its leadership will be like once it has sold off the crown jewels of its entertainment assets to Disney by sometime next year. By Tuesday, October 2, they have announced that Lachlan Murdoch, eldest son of Fox founder Rupert Murdoch, will serve as both chairman and CEO of the post-merger company that will now simply be known as Fox, but nicknamed “New Fox”. With the namesake TV network and movie studio gone, New Fox’s major media divisions now comprise of Fox Sports, Fox Broadcasting Network, Fox News and the Fox Business Network.
All in all, it is a return of sorts to the news media focus that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation had before its entertainment assets began to rise in prominence. To stand with Lachlan Murdoch on the executive ranks of New Fox, the company has chosen the following to head up: Fox Sports president, COO and executive producer Eric Shanks to CEO; Fox Network Group president for distribution Mike Biard now also presiding over operations; Fox News and Fox Business president (ad sales) Marianne Gambelli now doing the same for all of Fox; Steve Tomsic from Fox deputy CFO to full CFO; and finally Paul Cheesebrough as CTO and DTC boss.
While all the new higher-ups have been named, their positions will only be finalized the moment Disney completes the takeover of their entertainment media assets, which the house of mouse has secured for a $71.3 billion offer that just beat out a rival bid from Comcast. Even as the House of Mouse stands to become an even more humongous global entertainment juggernaut, New Fox will be a more streamlined organization than 21st Century Fox, and can better prioritize both Fox News and sports broadcasting rights.
In addition to 20th Century Fox and FOX TV, other assets that Disney is getting in the sale from 21CF include cable networks such as FX and National Geographic, Asian TV service Star TV, and Fox’s 30% stake in Hulu combining with Disney’s own 30% to form a majority stake.
Image from The Hollywood Reporter