It was a big but quick surprise last month when word came out that 21st Century Fox, the multimedia corporation founded by Rupert Murdoch which has film studio 20th Century Fox, Fox TV and Fox News under its umbrella, had opened discussions with Disney towards acquiring some of these same branches alongside several broadcasting assets.
The deal apparently went dead after a few days with even a quotation of a possible price, although the news made Fox and Disney shares jump up for a while. Now all of a sudden the talks between the two media giants have apparently resumed.
According to Financial Times, The Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox have returned to the table with regards to a possible sale of the Fox Entertainment Group and their stake in the Sky pan-European broadcaster to the House of Mouse.
Fox currently has a market value of roughly $60 billion, and Disney is apparently going to be coughing up around $50 billion to acquire the Fox entertainment assets, the Sky share and also India’s Star TV network. Insider information on the talks would have it that said acquisition will now not include the Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox News and its sports broadcast rights.
In addition to Disney, other major media names like Verizon and NBCUniversal’s Comcast have expressed interest in Fox’s entertainment group. The rationale behind the Murdoch-owned company’s talks with buyers has been their resignation at not being able to keep up with the rise of rival businesses with global digital streaming arms like Amazon or Netflix.
Disney is already making plans to launch its own streaming platforms, one for sports from its ESPN network, and the other for entertainment with its own film library and that of Pixar, LucasFilm and Marvel Studios. One major after-effect of the Fox-Disney deal being realized is that certain Fox film franchises such as Marvel’s X-Men and Fantastic Four will fall under Disney’s hands and that of their Marvel subsidiaries.
What remains now apparently is to make sure the acquisition does not ring too many alarm bells when it comes to government regulations. Already the Justice Department is clamping down on the planned $85 billion deal by AT&T to acquire Time Warner Inc., citing negative effects on the consumer base with the merger of a TV distributor and content producer.