Murdoch’s Fox in talks with multiple buyers for TV, film assets

NEW YORK: Shares in media-entertainment giant 21st Century Fox surged to seven-month highs on Friday after news it has been holding talks with at least three potential buyers for some of its television and film operations.
A source familiar with the discussions said Comcast, Verizon and Sony are among the suitors in “preliminary” talks for the assets, which include Fox’s stake in the British pay TV group Sky and its movie and television studio properties.
Any such deal could reshape the empire created by Rupert Murdoch (pictured), and now controlled by the 86-year-old mogul with his family.
Fox shares rallied more than six per cent to end at $31.15, the highest level since April.
Last week, unconfirmed reports said Fox rival Disney held similar talks without any agreement on asset sales.
The source said that Comcast, which controls the NBCUniversal media group along with its large cable operations, approached Fox, along with Verizon, a major telecom and cable operator that also owns the Internet brands AOL and Yahoo.
Another invitation to talks has come from Japanese electronics and media conglomerate Sony, according to the source.
Fox declined to respond to requests for comment.
Murdoch and his sons Lachlan and James, who hold key roles in his media empire, have remained mum on their plans for 21st Century Fox, which includes the Fox Hollywood studios, and broadcast and cable operations Sky, which has a presence in Austria, Britain, Germany, Ireland and Italy.
Earlier reports said the Murdochs were looking for a sale that would leave them with a more tightly focused media group. — Reuters