January 18, 2018
(AFP) - Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, 86, has told his staff he is recuperating from a back injury suffered while sailing earlier this month and may spend weeks working from home.
The news comes at a sensitive time for Murdoch's media-entertainment empire which is in the process of sealing a blockbuster tie-up with Walt Disney Co.
A message to senior managers of Murdoch's 21st Century Fox sent by the octogenarian indicated he was recovering from the incident, a source confirmed to AFP.
Vanity Fair magazine, which first reported the news earlier Wednesday, called the injury "serious" and said Murdoch was helicoptered from his son Lachlan's yacht in the Caribbean for treatment and later transported to Los Angeles.
The accident comes as Fox is in the process of shedding assets in a $52 billion deal with Disney for the prized Fox television and film studios, and other operations.
The deal has sparked concerns about too much concentration of power, giving Disney some 40 percent of US box office revenues and a large chunk of television entertainment and sports channels.
The transaction could be scrutinized by antitrust enforcers, but complicating any review are the well-known friendship and political ties between President Donald Trump and Murdoch -- with the two men even discussing the transaction in a phone call.
Fox was formed by the 2013 breakup of Murdoch's News Corp into two separate firms as part of a plan to "unlock value" for shareholders. The publishing unit retained the name News Corp.
Murdoch began a gradual withdrawal from both companies in 2013, and now shares the title of chairman with his eldest son Lachlan at both firms.