Fox's James Murdoch is in 'the catbird seat' after Disney deal, says Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg

  • Twenty-First Century Fox CEO James Murdoch is in an advantageous position after the Disney deal, says Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg.
  • "James is in the catbird seat," Katzenberg says. "I mean he is one of the smartest, most articulate, most intelligent media executives today."

Twenty-First Century Fox CEO James Murdoch is in an advantageous position after the Disney deal, Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg told CNBC on Friday.

Disney announced on Thursday its intention to buy major Fox assets in a transaction worth $52.4 billion in stock. Murdoch, son of Fox chairman and media titan Rupert Murdoch, will help Disney with the transition.

"James is in the catbird seat," said Katzenberg, co-founder of DreamWorks and former Disney studio chairman. "I mean he is one of the smartest, most articulate, most intelligent media executives today."

"He's young, he's bold, he's been an entrepreneur, he's got a bunch of billions of dollars," Katzenberg added in an interview on "Squawk Box." "I mean he's got a heck of a path in front of him."

Earlier this month, the Financial Times reported James Murdoch could be a potential successor to Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger.

But that won't happen anytime soon. As part of the Fox deal announcement, Disney said Iger would remain chairman and CEO of through 2021

In an interview Thursday, Iger said he would be in talks with the younger Murdoch over the next few months and they'll discuss "whether there is a role for him or not at our company."

Katzenberg said Murdoch will likely be successful no matter what he does. "Whether if that's with the Walt Disney company or not — that I think will reveal itself over the next year," he said.

Katzenberg, managing partner of media and tech company WndrCo, was chairman of Walt Disney Studios from 1984 to 1994. After leaving Disney, Katzenberg started Dreamworks with music mogul David Geffen and Hollywood director Steven Spielberg. In August 2016, DreamWorks was sold for $3.8 billion to Comcast, owner of CNBC's parent NBCUniversal.

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