Fox bets on NFL, popular shows to anchor spinoff firm

Fox bets on NFL, popular shows to anchor spinoff firm

LOS ANGELESWith 21st Century Fox Inc’s deal with Walt Disney Co nearing completion, the company is laying out plans for a new life anchored by popular television programming and the National Football League (NFL).

After earnings and sales topped analysts’ estimates on Wednesday, Fox co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch switched the focus to “new Fox”, which will be spun off in conjunction with Disney’s US$71 billion (RM288.97 billion) takeover of the company’s entertainment assets. He said management has made substantial headway toward crafting the new business, which will feature the No 1 cable-news channel and a sports network with 40% of all NFL viewership.

“The new Fox will boast the schedule of America’s most engaging sports news and entertainment programming,” Murdoch, eldest son of media magnate Rupert Murdoch, said on a conference call with analysts. The discussion was a swan song of sorts for Fox, which doesn’t plan to hold a call after its next quarterly results.

For now, Fox is getting a boost from assets that it plans to sell to Disney. Movies like Deadpool 2 contributed to earnings of 57 cents a share in the fiscal fourth quarter, excluding some items. Analysts estimated 54 cents a share on average.

Fox shareholders approved the Disney deal last month, agreeing to sell off 20th Century Fox studio and cable channels such as FX and National Geographic to a company that already owns Star Wars, Pixar and other entertainment franchises. The remaining parts of the business will be used to create the new Fox, which will retain the Fox network, Fox News and other assets. — Bloomberg

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