Disney Held Talks to Buy 21st Century Fox's Entertainment Assets
08 November, 2017, 00:37 | Author: Paula Vaughn
According to reports by Deadline, Bloomberg, CNBC and a number of financial outlets, exploratory talks were held between Disney and 21st Century Fox for the House Of Mouse to buy nearly all of their portfolio. According to sources, Fox wants to trim its focus to sports and news, a response to the rapidly changing media landscape; this change in focus could result in the majority of 21st Century Fox being sold to Disney, giving the media giant yet another movie studio. The two companies are also thought to not be now in discussion, though talks could resume soon.
The talks indicate the challenges faced by traditional media companies in competing with new-age tech media companies like Alphabet, Facebook, Amazon, and Netflix.
Representatives of Disney and Fox had no comment.
Murdoch, 86, began a gradual withdrawal from both companies in 2013, and now shares the title of chairman with his eldest son Lachlan at both firms.
Because of the size of the deal, Disney and Fox would be required to file with the government before they could consummate the agreement. Disney would also refrain from purchasing the networks local broadcasting affiliates, according to those in the know.
As reported by CNBC, preliminary terms had agreed that Disney would acquire 21st Century Fox's movie and TV studios, as well as the FX and National Geographic networks.
A deal would exclude the Fox broadcast network because Disney could not own two broadcast networks, the report said. Credit Suisse analysts said the talks increase uncertainty around the Sky transaction. Disney's India business is very small comparatively. "It is not clear whether the main Disney shareholders will agree and give their support to management on this point", the analysts said in a research note. The deal, should it proceed, could happen during a prime time for Disney, which is planning to launch its own streaming service. Chief Executive Bob Iger has said he plans to retire from Disney in July 2019, and the company is searching for a successor.
For the moment, no deal to sell a portion of the Fox company to Disney has taken place.
The bank also said in the event that a Fox/Sky deal was blocked, based on the CNBC article, Disney could be a potential strategic bidder for Sky and it noted it would not have the cross-media complications of a Fox bid.
AT&T is seeking a merger with Time Warner, and Verizon has its own video service with original programming from its acquired AOL and Yahoo properties.
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