Fox shares jump on sale speculation

Fox shares jump on sale speculation
Shares in 21st Century Fox have jumped amid reports that several major companies have come forward as suitors for parts of its business.

The US firm s shares gained more than 6% on Friday, after several sources reported interest from Comcast, Sony and Verizon.

Last week the company, which is led by the family of Rupert Murdoch, was said to have held talks with Disney.

21st Century Fox has not directly addressed the speculation.

The Wall Street Journal - in which the Murdoch family also has a large stake - reported that Fox is considering shedding its movie studio, cable networks and international businesses, including Europe-based broadcaster Sky.

That would leave the firm more narrowly focused on sports and news.

A break-up would represent a sharp shift in strategy for a family that has previously appeared intent on expansion.

Last year, Fox announced a deal to take full control of Sky, in which it already has a 39% stake. But the merger has been delayed, pending approval by UK authorities.

Media analyst Claire Enders, founder of Enders Analysis, said the speculation suggests that Fox is exploring other possibilities should that deal fall through.

"I think this is really Plan B," she said.

Verizon is one of the largest pay-TV, internet and wireless companies in the US.

Like Verizon, Comcast is a dominant cable and internet provider. Since 2011, it has also has owned the television and movie company NBCUniversal.

Sony is a Japanese conglomerate that owns the film studio Sony Pictures.

Fox, by contrast, is known for its flagship Fox News channel, as well as National Geographic, Asia-based Star TV, and a range of sports channels and local news stations.

Image caption How 21st Century Fox fits into the Murdoch empire

The reports of takeover discussions come against the backdrop of upheaval in the media industry, as viewers turn increasingly towards online video, and away from subscriptions for pay-TV.

That shift was reportedly what fuelled Disney s approach; combining Disney s extensive entertainment offering with Fox s, might be a way to counter the growing threat from Amazon and Netflix.

Analysts say changing consumer habits have also prompted media and entertainment executives to explore more consolidation of content creation and distribution functions.

There is unlikely to be any formal agreement to sell parts of 21st Century Fox before the future of a pending merger between AT&T and Time Warner becomes clear, analysts said.

That deal would unite Time Warner s content with AT&T s massive distribution network, making it similar to a possible tie-up between Fox and a telecom giant such as Verizon or Comcast.
News Topics :
Similar Articles :
Walt Disney has agreed to buy the bulk of 21st Century Fox s business for $52.4bn £39bn , in a deal both companies said position them to compete in the rapidly...
The talk is that the Murdochs might be prepared to part with the movie studios along with some other parts of the business an abrupt shift in strategy after...
Disney has been most interested in parts of Fox’s media empire, including its 20th Century Fox movie studio, cable channels like FX and its overseas channels like Sky and Star.   Richard...
In a move that aims to counter consolidation among TV distributors, Rupert Murdoch s Fox has made an unsolicited takeover offer for rival media giant Time Warner for about $76...
Walt Disney Co. s blockbuster $52.4 billion U.S. deal to buy most of Rupert Murdoch s Twenty First Century Fox, announced on Thursday, takes aim at an exploding direct to consumer content market that...