The drama of The Walt Disney Company entering into discussions with Rupert Murdoch for several media assets of his company, 21st Century Fox, has entered a new stage of tension with the entry of a competing bidder: Comcast which owns NBCUniversal among many other things.
They’ve tried to trump Disney’s offer of a $52.4 billion all-stock deal for the Fox assets with a minimally larger but all-cash alternate offer. The battle lines are now being drawn. But what exactly are these Fox assets that both Comcast and Disney are ready to spend lots in order to acquire? Here’s a list.
- 20th Century Fox – major film studio, current holder of the film rights (in theoretical perpetuity) for the Marvel franchises of the X-Men and Fantastic Four; an acquisition could possibly reunite the scattered movie settings of all Marvel heroes and heal the years-long competitive downplaying of the X-Men in Marvel Comics to push the Avengers and other non-mutant characters
- Fox Sports Networks – collective of 22 Fox-owned regional sports-programming networks
- Fox Entertainment Group – other Fox media companies include: Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox Star Studios and Blue Sky Studios; 20th Century and the sports networks also belong under this umbrella, but are large enough to stand on their own
- Endemol Shine Group (50% ownership) – Dutch TV production company whose signature programs like Big Brother, The Biggest Loser and MasterChef are hits with international editions
- Sky plc (controlling stake) – UK-based Pan-European media-telecom giant, which 21st Century Fox has a 39.14% stake in; operates in the UK, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Germany and Austria; while the Disney-Fox deal only gets Murdoch’s controlling stake with Sky, Comcast is offering to acquire Sky as a whole
- Star TV – another large-scale TV programming provider, this time from India with 3 distinct units – Star India, Star Greater China and Fox International Channels Asia; wholly-owned subsidiary to Fox
- Hulu (partial ownership) – a major TV streaming service and joint-venture with Disney, Fox, Comcast and Time Warner; all but TW have a 30% partial ownership, though the Disney-Fox deal would make for a 60% majority ownership to the House of Mouse if successful
- FX Networks – Fox cable channel
- National Geographic (majority ownership) – documentary and non-fiction cable channel; the deal takes majority ownership of the channel, with the remainder retained by its namesake, the National Geographic Society