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Update: Musk denies report that Fox CEO top contender to become Tesla chairman

Outgoing 21st Century Fox Inc. CEO James Murdoch is the leading contender to succeed Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk as the electric vehicle company's chairman, the Financial Times (London) reported Oct. 10, citing anonymous sources.

External options are still being reviewed and considered, according to the report.

In September, Musk agreed to resign as chairman but can retain his role as CEO as part of the settlement of a securities lawsuit the SEC brought against him. The SEC accused Musk of misleading investors after he tweeted: "Considering taking Tesla private at $420 a share. Funding secured."

As part of the SEC settlement, Tesla and Musk also agreed to split $40 million in penalties. The regulator also wants to replace Musk with an independent chairman.

According to the Financial Times, Murdoch had indicated that he wants the job. The executive, who is a nonexecutive director of Tesla, will step down as the CEO of 21st Century Fox when the company completes the sale of its entertainment assets to Walt Disney Co.

Tesla did not immediately respond to S&P Global Market Intelligence's request for comment. But hours later, Musk tweeted a response to the Financial Times' Twitter post of its Murdoch report that stated: "This is incorrect." No further details were given.

Shares of the company were down 2.57% to $256.06 in afternoon trading.