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Murdoch abandons plan to combine Fox with News Corp

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has abandoned a plan to reunify the parent company of the Wall Street Journal with Fox Corporation.

The announcement was made Tuesday in a statement by the board of News Corp, the owner of the financial newspaper, Dow Jones, News UK and HarperCollins.

The move comes more than three months after the board said it would form an exploratory committee after receiving a letter from Murdoch urging the reunification of News Corp with Fox Corporation. The two businesses split into separate enterprises in 2013.

A statement made by the News Corp board said Murdoch had a change of heart after consulting with his son, Fox Corporation CEO Lachlan Murdoch, and reaching the conclusion that “a combination is not optimal for shareholders of News Corp and Fox at this time.”

The committee formed to explore the merger of the two companies has been dissolved accordingly, the board said on Tuesday.

“The decision to no longer explore a combination with News Corp does not impact our operations or strategic priorities at Fox,” Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement. “We remain focused on the strength of our core businesses, which distinguish us from our media peers, while delivering both operationally and financially to create long-term value for our shareholders.”

Class B shares of Fox were up nearly 2 percent in after-hours trading, while Class A shares of News Corporation increased more than 2 percent.

Despite a global turn down in the advertising market, Fox Corporation’s revenue has increased over the last few years as it takes a conservative approach to streaming and continues to invest in programming for its broadcast and cable networks.

Fox is one of the few media brands to avoid building its own direct-to-consumer streaming service; instead, the company acquired San Francisco-based Tubi for $440 million in 2020, a move that helped it bring in over $3 billion in revenue during its last financial quarter.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).