Fox Corp. Chief Lachlan Murdoch Declines To Address News Corp. Reunion Scenario, But Says Scale Will Be Key In Coming Years As Media M&A “Opportunities Will Emerge”

Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch declined to directly address deliberations about a potential reunion with corporate sibling News Corp. during Fox’s quarterly earnings call, but he readily acknowledged the importance of scale in the media business.

“What we’ve seen out of our media peers over the past few years are peers getting bigger through mergers and acquisitions,” the exec said. “Scale lends flexibility in many ways. We continue to grow our business. We continue to look at M&A and be very disciplined. But we do look at the importance of scale, particularly over the next couple of years when opportunities will emerge.” He did not elaborate on the nature of those opportunities, but said Fox would continue to explore possible deals.

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Fox Corp. Rides Political Ad Wave, Posts Solid Fiscal Q1 Results

Murdoch spoke a few minutes after Fox posted solid results in the fiscal first quarter, with political ad revenue propelling the company’s overall performance. He apologized for having to steer around the elephant in the room, repeatedly noting that both Fox and News Corp. have formed special committees in order to explore a re-teaming. “It’s hard for me to comment on something that doesn’t exist today,” Murdoch said.

Including prepared remarks, the call lasted less than 40 minutes. The bulk of the discussion centered on strong advertising results and the blossoming of Tubi. The free, ad-supported streaming service, which Fox acquired for $440 million in 2020, exceeded the ad performance of Fox Entertainment for the first time “in a meaningful way,” Murdoch said, with revenue growth “re-accelerating” to 30% in the fiscal first quarter and pacing toward 40% in the current quarter.

While Fox has lacked the scale predecessor 21st Century Fox ever since the $71.3 billion sale of most of its assets to Disney in 2019, this Thanksgiving holiday offers an example of the potent sports programming which continues to be a signature. Over four days, the broadcast network will air two high-profile NFL games, one between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys and the other between the Kansas City Chiefs and LA Rams, as well as the annual Ohio State-Michigan college football game and a World Cup soccer match between the U.S. and England. “This extraordinary holiday week sets us up nicely” for the broadcast of the Super Bowl next February, Murdoch said.

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