Fox shares soar on reports of Murdoch family talks with Disney

The 21st Century Fox logo is seen outside the News Corporation headquarters in New York.
The 21st Century Fox logo is seen outside the News Corporation headquarters in New York.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Shares in 21st Century Fox jumped on Monday after reports the controlling Murdoch family held talks to sell most of the media-entertainment giant to rival Disney.

Reports in the Wall Street Journal and CNBC television said the discussions over the past few weeks had so far made little progress towards a deal.

They added that the family-led empire created by mogul Rupert Murdoch had been in discussions to sell Fox's movie and television studios and leave a media company tightly focused on news and sports.

Also on the block would be much of Fox's international distribution operations and its 39 per cent stake in Britain's Sky, in which Fox has been seeking full control pending regulatory approval.

Disney is interested in solidifying its Hollywood and television positions and getting the Fox library of content to bolster its arsenal against Netflix and other rivals.

Disney, which owns the ABC television network, ESPN and has major studios in Hollywood, is set to launch its own streaming services aimed at competing against Netflix, Amazon and Hulu.

Fox shares leapt 8.9 per cent on the news to US$26.62 while Disney rose 2.04 per cent to finish at US$100.65 on Wall Street.