Trust a savvy deal-maker like Rupert Murdoch to wring the most from any negotiation.
The 86-year-old media mogul and his family would emerge as the single largest individual shareholders in Disney once the proposed $66 billion deal for 21st Century Fox’s film and television assets closes. Only the mutual fund Vanguard would have more significant holdings in the Burbank media giant.
The Murdochs stand to receive nearly 88 million Disney shares in the all-stock deal, based on the number of Fox shares he and his family trust reported in regulatory filings.
That’s more than the 64 million shares owned or directly controlled by Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Steve Jobs. The late Apple co-founder became Disney’s largest individual shareholder in 2006 with the $7.4 billion sale of Pixar Animation Studios.
Media analyst Doug Creutz of Cowen & Co. speculates that the Murdochs may be positioning themselves to run Disney one day, after CEO Bob Iger retires. That’s consistent with what we’re hearing from sources, who say James Murdoch is angling for a senior management role in Burbank.
Iger, however, was circumspect today about the younger Murdoch’s role in the company, post-acquisition.
“James and I will be talking over the next number of months. He’s going to be integral to the integration process, and he and I will be discussing whether there is a role for him or not at our company,” Iger said.