London — For most of his adult life James Murdoch has worked for companies controlled by his father. From Hong Kong to London and then New York, he has traversed his family’s global empire, managing vast media businesses such as Sky in the UK and, most recently, 21st Century Fox in the US. Yet he has never quite escaped Rupert Murdoch’s long shadow. Now, 21 years after he first joined a Murdoch company, James has decided to strike out on his own, according to people who know him. An informal auction is under way for some of Fox’s most prized assets, including its Hollywood movie studio, cable television channels and stake in Sky. Walt Disney is in pole position to win the auction and a senior role at the mouse house has been mooted for James. Whether he joins Disney or starts his own venture (he is likely to pocket a small fortune from the sale, valued at as much as $60bn including debt), the Murdoch family is parting professional ways. The 86-year-old Rupert and his eldest son, Lac...

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