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Fox's James Murdoch Mum on Studio Asset Sale Rumors

5 Dec, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel

21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch

Despite reported renewed corporate interest from the Walt Disney Co. and Comcast acquiring 21st Century Fox’s film business (20th Century Fox), Fox corporate CEO James Murdoch punted when asked about specifics at an investor event.

Speaking Dec. 5 at the UBS 45th Annual Global Media and Communications Conference in New York, Murdoch declined addressing a reported $60 billion deal that would not include cash cows Fox Broadcast Co., Fox Sports and Fox News — but could happen as early as next week, according to CNBC.

“It would be wrong to comment on market speculation,” Murdoch said. “We always make a policy of not commenting on market speculation, what’s out there in the press or wherever. So, no, there’s nothing to add to that, other than the nothing that we’ve said so far.”

Considering studio rollercoaster financials, Fox Studios, which includes 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, saw a $55 million decline in operating income in the most recent fiscal period. Revenue increased $56 million to $1.96 billion.

The deal would also include Fox’s 30% equity stake in Hulu, which reported a $62 million loss in the quarter, compared with a $39 million loss in the previous-year period. Both Disney and Comcast own 30% stakes in Hulu.

Murdoch did reiterate the standard CEO pledge to enhance shareholder value in whatever way possible, i.e. sale of assets.

“When we’re running [a] business, the way we think about the business is really about value, and about long-term value,” Murdoch said.


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