Speculation has been fueled that 21st Century Fox may be positioning to acquire control of the satellite company Sky after news broke that James Murdoch is returning as chairman. Murdoch stepped down four years ago as chairman of the company then known as British Sky Broadcasting or BSkyB.
The BBC notes that at the time Murdoch resigned, News Corp., run by Murdoch’s father, Rupert Murdoch, had failed in a bid to take over BSkyB, in which News Corp. owned a 39% stake. The aborted bid — and James Murdoch’s resignation — came amid a phone-hacking scandal involving journalists at publications owned by News International, of which James Murdoch was also chairman.
The 39% stake in Sky is now controlled by 21st Century Fox, which has James Murdoch as its CEO. Murdoch has remained a director of Sky since 2003 and was CEO from 2003 before serving as chairman from 2007-2012. He now succeeds Nicholas Ferguson, who is stepping down after replacing Murdoch as chairman in 2012.
BBC cites sources saying that James Murdoch has always viewed the aborted takeover by News Corp. as “unfinished business.”