BREAKING: 21st Century Fox In Talks to Sell Company to Disney

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According to CNBC:

21st Century Fox has been holding talks to sell most of the company to Walt Disney Co., leaving behind a media company tightly focused on news and sports, according to people familiar with the situation.

The talks have taken place over the last few weeks and there is no certainty they will lead to a deal. The two sides are not currently talking at this very moment, but given the on again, off again nature of the talks, they could be revisited.

For Fox, the willingness to engage in sale talks with Disney stems from a growing belief among its senior management that scale in media is of immediate importance and that there is not a path to gain that scale in entertainment through acquisition. The company is said to believe that a more tightly focused group of properties around news and sports could compete more effectively in the current marketplace.

The media landscape has changed considerably in recent years with giants such as Facebook, Google (Alphabet), Amazon and Netflix changing the way people consume media and dominating the digital distribution of digital video content. Being able to compete in that changing landscape, many people believe, requires scale that a Disney has, but 21st Century Fox does not.

For Disney, the opportunity to take control of another movie studio and significant TV production assets as it readies a direct-to-consumer entertainment streaming offering is attractive as is Fox’s significant exposure to international markets, such as the U.K., Germany and Italy — both through its networks and 39 percent ownership of Sky. Disney recently announced it will pull all of its movies from the Netflix platform and will establish two direct-to-consumer offerings: one for sports and one including its key franchises such as “Star Wars” and Marvel.

Disney would not purchase all of Fox, according to people with knowledge of the talks.
Bob Iger (L), CEO of Walt Disney Co. and Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of News Corp.

The company could not own two broadcast networks and would therefore not buy the Fox broadcast network. It would not buy Fox’s sports programming assets in the belief that combining them with ESPN could be seen as anti-competitive from an antitrust standpoint and it would not buy the Fox News or Business channel. Disney would also not purchase Fox’s local broadcasting affiliates, according to people familiar with the negotiations.

In addition to the movie studio, TV production and international assets such as Star and Sky, Disney would also add entertainment networks such as FX and National Geographic.

The contemplated structure of the deal or the price that has been discussed could not be learned. Given it would involve the sale of many, but not all of Fox’s properties, it’s unclear how Fox would mitigate potential tax consequences of a deal.

Officials at Disney and Fox declined to comment.

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About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.

10 Comments

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  • Not a bad deal for Disney. They’d get Avatar, Planet of the Apes, Alien, Predator and more. Oh, and Marvel COULD be interested in getting the X-Men into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yep, very interesting.

  • Very interesting… I wonder if this means that Disney would get the X-Men property back into the Marvel family. A lot of the assets mentioned above are a little more “adult” than what Disney has typically been associated with. I doubt if this happens… but you never know. Thanks for the update, Tom!

    • Not Necessarly. Disney once owned Miramax/Dimension film. which included Pulp Fiction, The Crying Game, The English Patient, Clerks, Priest, Scream, etc

      They also at one time had Touchstone pictures and Hollywood pictures. which would showcase the more adult oriented action movies like Armageddon, The Rock, Con Air, and Ruthless people.

      so technically. This would be a huge gain for Disney. Having already had the Alien franchise in the Great Movie Ride. I doubt they would showcase Foxes IPs as rides. but i could see them using it to their advantage. like others said. finally getting X-Men, Deadpool, and the Fantastic Four into the Marvel universe would be huge. If they did a Secret Wars movie. it would probably be the biggest film of all time

  • Stop the presses!
    Scrap the Mickey & Minnie Coaster!
    We can do a “Great Movie Ride” reboot instead with 20th Century Fox movies!!

  • Bob Iger and Disney is great at media, this fits the bill. What they SUCK at are theme parks in the USA. The Orlando parks are a borderline disaster of cut backs, poor value, and cheapness. Please show the parks some love too Bob!

    • Yeah, they should totally do something over at Hollywood Studios. Hardly any rides over there! They should invest there first, maybe expand the park and add a few new lands! The parks could use something Marvel related as well. Epcot is in need of something new so maybe they could take out one of the old rides and do something with the MCU?
      Disney Springs could use something sports related. Lots of shops, could use some more restaurants though. Maybe they should think about ending Cirque du Soliel. That’s been going on for a very long time, end it soon and put in a new show!
      Do something with Stitch’s Great Mistake too! Maybe they could bring it back just once more for the holiday crowd and then refurbish it?
      They should spend some money too on better transportation. Maybe not more monorails because that would be crazy expensive but maybe there is something still that they could still do that would give a scenic ride to guests.
      AND they need to add more rooms to the resorts, a couple of towers at the resorts would be nice. It’d be cool to have a resort that was totally theme to one very specific movie universe.
      I don’t know, they’ll probably never spend any money on that stuff…