In the talks that may see Walt Disney buy most of 21st Century Fox, the future leadership of Disney is reportedly on the table. And it may go to Fox Chief Executive James Murdoch.
Murdoch, the scion of Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch, could end up being the successor to current Disney CEO Bob Iger when Iger retires in 2019, according to a Wednesday report in the Financial Times.
“No promises have been made,” said one of the FT’s sources. But it seems likely that—in the event of a deal—Murdoch would get a senior executive role at Disney no matter what.
MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson suggested to the publication that Murdoch might need to prove himself to Disney by running some of its businesses, before assuming the crown.
21st Century Fox declined to comment on the report to Fortune; Disney didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
CNBC reported Tuesday that the companies are closing in on the deal, which could be worth $60 billion. The structure of the deal, as reported, may help the firms allay the concerns of antitrust regulators.
Per that report, Disney (which owns ESPN) would get 21st Century Fox’s film and TV studios, Fox’s cable networks and regional sports networks, and Fox’s share of Hulu, as well as the European telecommunications giant Sky.
Meanwhile, Fox would be left with its news broadcast operation, plus some of its sports assets, under the leadership of Lachlan Murdoch, James’s brother.
However, as Gigi Sohn of the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology and Public Policy told Variety, the Justice Department may still be skeptical about the merger, due to the convergence of two of the biggest production studios.