Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. (stylized as 21st Century Fox, simply known as Fox, and also called 21CF) is an American multinational mass media corporation based in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. It was one of two companies formed from the 2013 spin-off of the publishing assets of News Corporation, as founded by Rupert Murdoch in 1979. 21st Century Fox is the legal successor to News Corporation dealing primarily in the film and television industries and is currently the world's fourth largest media conglomerate (after Comcast, The Walt Disney Company and Time Warner). The other company, the "new" News Corporation, holds Murdoch's print interests (both owned by him and his family via a family trust with 39 percent controlling interest in each).
The company's assets include the Fox Entertainment Group—owners of the 20th Century Fox film studio and Fox television network, and among other assets, pan-Asian pay channel operator Star TV; and on December 9, 2016, 21CF announced a bid for full control of United Kingdom-based Sky Plc, whose independent directors supported the deal.
21st Century Fox was formed by the splitting of entertainment and media properties from News Corporation. In February 2012, Natalie Ravitz accepted a position to become Rupert Murdoch’s Chief of Staff at News Corporation. News Corporation's board approved the split on May 24, 2013, while shareholders approved the split on June 11, 2013; the company completed the split on June 28 and formally started trading on the NASDAQ on July 1. Plans for the split were originally announced on June 28, 2012, while additional details, and the working name of the new company were unveiled on December 3, 2012.
Murdoch stated that performing this split would "unlock the true value of both companies and their distinct assets, enabling investors to benefit from the separate strategic opportunities resulting from more focused management of each division." The move also came in the wake of a series of scandals that had damaged the reputation of the company's publishing operations in the United Kingdom. The split was structured so that the old News Corporation would change its name to 21st Century Fox and spin off its publishing assets into a "new" News Corporation.
While the company was originally announced as the Fox Group, on April 16, 2013, Murdoch announced the new name as a way to suggest the retaining of 20th Century Fox's heritage as the group advances into the future. Its logo was officially unveiled on May 9, 2013, featuring a modernized version of the iconic Fox searchlights. However, the 21st Century Fox brand does not extend to the existing 20th Century Fox division (which remains under its original name).
On January 8, 2014, Rupert Murdoch announced plans to delist 21st Century Fox's shares from the Australian Securities Exchange, in favor of solely trading on the NASDAQ. Its listing in Australia was a holdover from its period as News Corporation, and 21st Century Fox has relatively little presence in Australia, unlike News Corp. Murdoch stated that the changes, which were expected to be complete by June 2014, would "simplify the capital and operating structure" of 21st Century Fox and provide "improved liquidity" to shareholders.
In June 2014, 21st Century Fox made a bid to acquire Time Warner, which had similarly spun off its publishing assets, for $80 billion in a cash and stock deal. The deal, which was rejected by Time Warner's board of directors in July 2014, would have also involved the sale of CNN to ease antitrust issues. On August 5, 2014, 21st Century Fox announced it had withdrawn its bid for Time Warner. The company's stock had fallen sharply since the bid was announced, prompting directors to announce 21st Century Fox would buy back $6 billion of its shares over the following 12 months.
On July 25, 2014, 21st Century Fox announced the sale of Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland to BSkyB for $9 billion, subject to regulatory and shareholder approval. Fox would use the money from the sale, along with $25 billion it received from Goldman Sachs, to attempt another bid for Time Warner.
On September 9, 2015, 21st Century Fox announced a for-profit joint venture with the National Geographic Society. The new company will be called National Geographic Partners, and will take ownership of all of National Geographic media and consumer-based operations including National Geographic magazine, and the National Geographic television networks that were already run as a joint venture with the company. 21st Century Fox holds a 73% stake in the company.
On December 15, 2016, 21st Century Fox reached an agreement to take over the 61% of Sky that it did not already own. The company was valued at £18.5 billion. The deal was approved by the European Commission on April 7, 2017, followed by Ireland's Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment on June 27, while still waiting for approval in the UK.
On April 30, 2017, it was reported that 21st Century Fox was in talks to purchase Tribune Media in a joint venture with the Blackstone Group. On May 7, 2017, it was reported that Sinclair Broadcast Group was nearing a deal to purchase Tribune Media, and that 21st Century Fox had dropped its bid for the company. The deal was officially announced the next day.
On August 2, 2017, it was reported that 21st Century Fox was in talks with Ion Media to create a joint venture that would own their respective stations. The partnership was said to include plans to shift affiliations from Sinclair stations in favor of Ion-owned stations, such as those whose affiliation agreements are soon to expire. Fox was reportedly concerned by Sinclair's growing influence in the industry, and that its practice of requiring its stations to present national headlines from a conservative viewpoint would harm Fox News Channel. Analysts felt that the proposed partnership was a ploy to threaten Sinclair rather than a feasible business plan, noting that the consortium would have to make significant investments if they were to establish news operations at Ion stations (as they have historically had minimal staff and local infrastructure), and that Fox risked losing viewership.
21st Century Fox's operations can be broadly categorized into four major reporting segments:
Among the divisions of the company is Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products which "licenses and markets properties worldwide" on behalf of a number of 21st Century Fox assets and third-parties.
On its formation in 2013, Murdoch was chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of the company, while Chase Carey took the posts of president and chief operating officer. Co-chairman and Co-CEO positions were created in 2014 and filled by Lachlan Murdoch and James Murdoch, respectively, both sons of Rupert Murdoch.
On July 1, 2015, Lachlan Murdoch was elevated to Co-Executive Chairman alongside his father and James Murdoch replaced his father as CEO. Former COO Chase Carey became Executive Vice Chairman.
21st Century Fox primarily consists of the media and broadcasting properties that were owned by its predecessor, such as the Fox Entertainment Group, STAR TV, and their 39.14% stake in Sky plc. News Corporation's broadcasting properties in Australia, such as Foxtel and Fox Sports Australia, remain a part of the newly renamed News Corp Australia—which was spun off with the new News Corp and is not a part of 21st Century Fox.