(Reuters) - Media mogul Rupert Murdoch, 92, has stepped down as the chairman of Fox Corp and News Corp, ending a more than seven-decade career in which he created an empire spanning from Australia to the United States.
His son, Lachlan Murdoch, will become the chairman of News Corp and continue as the chair and CEO of Fox, the companies said on Thursday.
The transition cements Lachlan's role as the leader of the media empire, putting to rest questions of succession within the Murdoch family.
BRITISH FINANCE MINISTER JEREMY HUNT ON LBC RADIO
"Well, he is someone who, love him or loathe him, had a defining influence on all of our lives over the last half century."
"I recognise there'll be lots of other things that he's done over the years that people disagreed with. But I don't think anyone would disagree this was an absolutely formidable operator."
ADVISORY FIRM MADISON & WALL'S MEDIA ANALYST BRIAN WIESER
"Logically one would always have expected him to step aside at some point given his age, and the transition to Lachlan has been conveyed to the world for some time."
"His legacy for the industry – and the world - it's mixed."
"Clearly he's done a lot for journalism, and many of his enterprises still produce a lot of important news which helps keep the world informed in ways that might not have occurred were it not for his leadership."
"But it's impossible to ignore the other side of that, where Fox News amplified toxicity in the US political environment, and other properties similarly impacted other territories."
MICHAEL ASHLEY SCHULMAN, PARTNER AND CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER AT RUNNING POINT CAPITAL ADVISORS
"Rupert Murdoch stepping down is the end of a media era that has had its fair share of controversy, including, most recently Fox agreeing to pay a $787.5 million settlement to voting machine company Dominion over its reporting of the 2020 U.S. presidential election."
"And Fox remains entangled in a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit brought forth by Smartmatic."
"I can't help but think that the Dominion and Smartmatic suits have helped influence Rupert Murdoch's decision. Lachlan may not take Fox and News Corp in completely new directions, but he can put a new face on the conglomerate and try to set a new tone."
CI ROOSEVELT'S SENIOR PORTFOLIO MANAGER JASON BENOWITZ
"I'm surprised that he's leaving now. His son Lachlan Murdoch is seasoned and capable of running the business, but of course there's no replacement for someone like the chairman, Rupert Murdoch, who founded the company and built it over decades."
"It turned out to be yet another sort of a long career of smartly building and acquiring and divesting media properties. So yeah, he's irreplaceable in a sense but I think he's leaving behind a business that is sort of as good as he could have left it for his son Lachlan to run."
DANNI HEWSON, HEAD OF FINANCIAL ANALYSIS, AT AJ BELL
"Rupert Murdoch's departure is significant, he's been a force in the media world, a shrewd operator with fingers in more pies than Mary Berry."
"Controversial, charismatic and cantankerous this is a man who leaves big shoes to fill but a man who will have planned his departure down to the last dotted I."
"The media world is unrecognisable from the one he stepped into seventy years ago and the decision to scrap plans to reunite his empire must have smarted."
"His appointment to the role of chairman emeritus suggests he'll still be exerting his influence, just in a less hands on way."
MATTHEW JORDAN, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF MEDIA STUDIES AT PENN STATE UNIVERSITY
"Like in the series Succession, inspired by Murdoch, observers have long questioned where things would go once he was no longer at the helm. Lachlan is the heir apparent, but it is important to understand that this is now a data-driven business machine."
"Fox News runs minute-by-minute ratings, and ties their storylines and coverage to what its audience wants to hear. Now that there are more and more right-wing media outlets like Newsmax, they have to keep the audience glued in to remain profitable."
RODNEY BENSON, PROFESSOR OF MEDIA STUDIES AT NYU
"Murdoch has immeasurably transformed the U.S. media ecosystem, not only ideologically in laying the foundation for the growth of a right-wing media infrastructure, but stylistically and ethically."
"Even if there is conflict within the family, which I would expect to be subdued as long as he lives, whatever his official title, it is difficult to imagine a fundamental reshaping of Fox, given its success as a commercial formula."
ART HOGAN, CHIEF MARKET STRATEGIST AT B RILEY WEALTH
"Murdoch is stepping away after a tumultuous year at Fox's TV network. While his decision comes as a bit of a surprise, there is certainly some logic to the decision."
"Broadcast TV is in secular decline, and Fox has lost both on air talent and ratings. As one of his sons will be taking over the leadership role, we wouldn't expect to see much of a reaction in the stock, which is unchanged on a year-to-date basis."
PAUL VERNA, PRINCIPAL ANALYST AT INSIDER INTELLIGENCE
"Rupert Murdoch's retirement from the Fox board and the elevation of his son Lachlan to the chairman role come at a momentous time for the company and the media industry."
"As it has in every US Presidential Election cycle this century, in 2024, Fox News will play a central role in shaping public opinion on the right side of the political spectrum in an increasingly divided society."
"And in the broader media landscape, Fox Corp. - like other TV network groups - is grappling with existential questions about the viability of the cable bundle and the challenges in monetizing streaming assets."
THOMAS HAYES, CHAIRMAN AT HEDGE FUND GREAT HILL CAPITAL
"Built an incredible company. Wise to step down at this stage and hand over to next generation."
"He is 92 years old. It's time. His legacy has been creating a counter-balance for traditional news media that allowed both sides of the debate to be heard. Lachlan has had his hands on the wheel for some time so this will be a seamless transition."
MATTHEW TUTTLE, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER AT TUTTLE CAPITAL MANAGEMENT
"I think whenever you get to that age, that's (health issues) always a possibility. You also want the right balance of giving it to the next generation at the right time."
"(Murdoch's legacy is) Huge, good and bad. I think he was the first to make news really entertaining, but his decision to move Fox to the right created MSNBC and politicized news forever."
ED MOYA, SENIOR MARKET ANALYST AT OANDA
"I was surprised he didn't step down a lot earlier. At 92 years old, Rupert Murdoch's transition of power to one of his son's is no surprise for anyone. The timing makes sense given Fox is about to enter a marathon of election coverage and probably try to do a little rebranding."
(Reporting by Aditya Soni, Samrhitha Arunasalam, Bansari Mayur Kamdar, Ananya Mariam Rajesh and Arsheeya Singh Bajawa in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Pooja Desai)