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Potential Fox deal sees James Murdoch cast as contender to Disney throne

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Fox boss James Murdoch has emerged as a contender to become the new CEO of Disney, following reports last week that Bob Chapek was the man to take the organisation forward.

Disney is reportedly in negotiations for a US$60bn (€50.7bn, £44.8bn) takeover of Fox, with the company looking to acquire Fox’s movie studio, cable channels and international units – Sky and Star India.

Should that deal go through, The Financial Times reports that British-born businessman James Murdoch, the CEO of Fox and son of media tycoon Rupert, could take the reins at Disney when Bob Iger departs in 2019.

The Fox deal would have a significant impact on the theme park world, with Comcast – the parent company of Universal Studios' owner NBC Universal – also assessing a bid, as is Verizon.

Should the Fox deal not go through, Bob Chapek – a Disney veteran of more than 20 years – would still be the likely successor to Bob Iger, according to Bloomberg.

Disney has struggled to find a suitable successor following the departure of heir apparent Thomas Staggs in April 2016. Iger extended his tenure at Disney until 2 July 2019, saying at the time that he would be working with the company’s board to “to identify a successor as CEO and ensure a successful transition”.

The incoming chief executive will be leading from a position of strength, with Disney’s recent earnings report showing growth for the fiscal year. The company’s Parks and Resorts division performed strongly, with revenues increasing eight per cent year-on-year to US$18.4bn (€15.8bn, £14bn), while profits were up 14 per cent to US$3.8bn (€3.3bn, £2.9bn).

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Fox boss James Murdoch has emerged as a contender to become the new CEO of Disney, following reports last week that Bob Chapek was the man to take the organisation forward.
TAW,VAT,PHR
James Murdoch – current Fox CEO and son of media tycoon Rupert – could take the reins at Disney when Bob Iger departs in 2019 / PictureGroup/SIPA USA/PA Images

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