• Disney agrees to buy 21st Century Fox’s entertainment businesses

    December 14, 2017
    • Disney agrees to buy 21st Century Fox’s entertainment businesses

    Nobody could have predicted - and to the best of my knowledge nobody did - that Rupert Murdoch, the cunning Australian with news in his veins and unquenchable fire in his belly, would be a seller. Not like this anyway.

    It took the charm of Bob Iger to make it happen. They met over the summer. Iger undoubtedly has one of the most impressive track records of any chief executive in media, and the other qualities that have led to his being talked as a future presidential candidate.

    Interviewed this morning, he didn't deny political ambition. But the extension of his contract to 2021, to the delight of investors, and the fact that James Murdoch's future is uncertain - he wasn't mentioned in the statements from either company - exposes earlier stories about Rupert's younger son becoming boss of Disney for the nonsense they always were.

    That story was presumably briefed out by the Murdoch camp, and it is possible that he could yet end up with a senior position at Disney. But Iger's diplomatically chosen words on the subject today, saying that "he will be discussing whether there is a role for [James] - or not - at our company" were not flattering.

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