Rupert Murdoch is considering a merger of Fox and News Corp once again Rupert Murdoch

The two parts of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire are discussing a merger nearly a decade after they split.

This link will connect Murdoch Fox News and TMZ properties with News Corp’s newspaper and online news operations, including the Times and Sun in the UK, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post and Australian in the US.

In a press release, News Corp confirmed that, following instructions from Murdoch and the Murdoch Family Trust, the companies had formed a special committee “consisting of independent and disinterested board members” to begin exploring a potential combination.

The Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that News Corp Chief Executive Robert Thompson had briefed employees on the potential merger.

“At News Corp, we are constantly pursuing ways to improve our performance and expand our businesses, and the rise of media presents both challenges and opportunities,” he wrote in a note. “However, I would like to stress that the Special Committee has not made any decisions at this time and cannot be certain that any transaction will result from its assessment.”

After years of global expansion, Murdoch Divided his empire in 2013Placing the print business into News Corp and TV and entertainment under the newly formed public company 21st Century Fox.

Murdoch said at the time that his wider media had become “increasingly complex” and a new system would simplify operations. The split protects Fox’s entertainment properties from potential financial fallout from the phone-hacking scandal.

The thinking at the time was that it was the opinion of someone familiar with the decision that separating companies would ultimately create value for shareholders. That vision was realized as Fox sold most of its film and television assets $71bn for Walt Disney In 2019.

The sale also focused Fox on live events, such as news and sports, rather than scripted entertainment content that could be “disruptive” to streaming platforms, Wall Street analysts noted at the time.

However, major streaming services are beginning to breach the security moat. Apple and Amazon, two tech giants with deep financial resources, have acquired the rights to stream Major League Baseball, football and soccer games and have begun bidding for the games.

Fox recently renewed its long-term deal with the NFL to continue airing Sunday afternoon games, but dropped Thursday Night Football to Amazon.

Reuniting Fox and News Corp would make the combined companies more competitive and complement their assets, a person familiar with the plan said. The combined companies will have revenues of around $24bn.

Murdoch, 91, now has almost a controlling stake in both companies. His son Lachlan Murdoch is chairman and CEO of Fox Corp. He is the chairman and chief executive officer of the companies making such arrangements. He is the chairman and chief executive officer of companies following such arrangements. Usually subsequent mergers are subject to the approval of the majority of shareholders who are not affiliated with their controlling shareholder, although it is unclear whether this will happen in this instance.

As of Friday’s market close, News Corp had a market capitalization of $9.31bn and Fox Corp $16.84bn. Shares of News Corp rose 5% and Fox rose 1% in after-market trading.

Reuters contributed to this story

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