Fox shares jump on sale speculation

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Rupert Murdoch with sons James (r) and Lachlan (l)Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Rupert Murdoch with sons Lachlan (l) and James (r)

Shares in 21st Century Fox have jumped amid reports that several major companies have come forward as suitors for parts of its business.

The US firm’s shares gained 4% in early trade on Friday, after several sources reported interest from Comcast, Sony and Verizon.

Last week the company, which is led by the family of Rupert Murdoch, was said to be holding talks with Disney.

21st Century Fox has not directly addressed the speculation.

The Wall Street Journal – in which the Murdoch family also has a large stake – reported that Fox is considering shedding its movie studio, cable networks and international businesses, including Europe-based Sky.

That would leave the firm more narrowly focused on sports and news.

A break-up would represent a sharp shift in strategy for a family that has previously appeared intent on expansion.

Last year, Fox announced a deal to take full control of Sky, in which it already has a 39% stake. But the merger has been delayed, pending approval by UK authorities.

Media analyst Claire Enders, founder of Enders Analysis, said the speculation suggests that Fox is exploring other possibilities should that deal fall through.

“I think this is really Plan B,” she said.

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