At the latest, the landmark deal being brokered between The Walt Disney Company and Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, for the former to acquire the 20th Century Fox film studio, Fox TV and several other related assets, is being described as on the verge of a final agreement.
But there are also a lot of questions and discussion circulating around the acquisition talks, namely the reasons why Murdoch is offering some of the most vital pieces of his media empire, and what exactly is Disney going to get out of its potentially new assets, priced at a possible $50 billion range for all of them.
Analysts of the gigantic deal would have it that a successful acquisition of the Fox properties on offer would easily fulfill two of the future initiatives being pursued by Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger, who has put off his planned 2019 resignation as the head of the House of Mouse in order to personally oversee what could possibly be the early years of a combined media juggernaut.
Iger’s first objective is the continued acquisition of new and existing content, especially heavyweight box office franchises. He had made bold moves in this vein by making subsidiaries out of Pixar, Marvel, and then Lucasfilm to get their intellectual properties under the Disney umbrella. One can only imagine his excitement at being able to make use of franchises like James Cameron’s Avatar or the X-Men film franchise which would be a boon to Marvel.
The second objective is on the television front. There are two streaming subscription services being pushed by Iger for the future, one with Disney media and the other for ESPN. The Fox acquisition would provide a new source of content to fill up the nascent libraries of these proposed platforms.
Of course, it’s not all smooth sailing where franchises are concerned. The X-Men films have been touted as being of a more mature bent, especially their R-rated spinoffs Deadpool and Logan. Fox TV long-runner The Simpsons is another case of certain properties from the potentially acquired assets not jiving with the family-oriented G-rated Disney image.
On the other side of the negotiations, Rupert Murdoch has stated in the past that he has been frustrated by the undervaluing of his corporate assets on the stock market. Offering significant components of his own media empire is being seen as a way for him to get his money’s worth for the holdings from Disney, according to sources familiar with the subject.
All these are still up in the air until news comes that the Disney-Fox deal has been ironed out and finalized. Only then will it be clear if Iger and Murdoch will get what they want for the future.