James Murdoch Says Family is United as He Takes Helm of Fox
Cannes. James Murdoch, who will take the helm of Twenty-First Century Fox next week, said there was little he and his father Rupert did not agree on with respect to the future of the family media empire.
At the Cannes Lions advertising conference on Thursday, the 42-year-old executive also said his relationship with brother Lachlan, who will be elevated to a co-executive chairman in the recently announced reshuffle was “very much a partnership”.
While James and Lachlan are said by company sources to have a good relationship and approach the business as partners, the dual-reporting line could prove to be confusing and a source of tension, analysts have said.
“The family is obviously a big shareholder in the business, so we are all really invested in each others’ success,” said Murdoch.
“We all see very eye to eye on the business, so I think we’re in reasonably good shape there.”
Rupert Murdoch, who controls Fox through a trust that owns 39 percent of the voting shares, announced the long-expected elevation of his sons this month as he prepares the future of the company at a time of wrenching change in the television and entertainment businesses.
James Murdoch will soon be running a sprawling media empire that owns cable assets, broadcast networks and movie studios, including Twentieth Century Fox, Fox News and Star India. Fox is also the largest shareholder in European pay-TV group Sky PLC with 39 percent.
The family spun off the newspaper business News Corp., long a passion of Rupert Murdoch, into a separate company in 2013.
Some investors have questioned whether James is less attached to some parts of the media empire that his father built, such as the less profitable newspaper arm. The future of Fox’s investment in Sky is also an issue after media reports of interest from European media group Vivendi and telecom operator Vodafone
James Murdoch did not comment on Thursday on those topics in particular, but did not mention News Corp. or Sky when asked what he thought the most promising areas of development were for the company.
“We are a global business and have always been so but I have to say we think India is the single greatest opportunity in the next five to ten years,” he said, adding that Latin American and the United States were also bright spots.
Asked whether he would one day like his own children to run the family business, Murdoch laughed.
“My kids are really little right now. I’d just like them to pass the fifth grade.”
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