Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox has held talks to sell most of its film and television assets to Walt Disney Co, which would gain new programming and expand its global reach, CNBC reported on Monday. With the shift to digital media, many believe that a corporation like Disney, rather than Fox, has the scale to compete in this new landscape.
CNBC reports that discussions have been on-ad-off for the past few weeks between the two companies, but say multiple sources close to the situation have revealed the talks could pick back up at any moment.
Disney and Fox declined to comment on the CNBC report. Disney reps could not immediately be reached.
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Disney, which under US rules could not own two broadcast networks, would not purchase all of Fox, CNBC reported.
One of the biggest entertainment industry acquisitions since The Walt Disney Company bought Lucasfilm is reportedly in the works, and it involves the entertainment juggernaut buying yet another major movie and television entity.
"In addition to the movie studio, TV production and worldwide assets such as Star and BSkyB, Disney would also add entertainment networks such as FX and Nat Geo". The Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox broadcast and Fox Sports will remain as they are. We could even see some pricing deals combining their sports and entertainment streaming services, an over-the-top version of the old cable bundle without anyone in the middle between the content provider and the consumer, and that could mean a lot in terms of helping the ESPN streaming service gain traction.
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CNBC did add that these talks have been on and off for some time. Fox would have kept its news and sports holdings and would restructure around those assets.
Disney announced plans in September 2017 to remove its Marvel and Star Wars projects from Netflix as it readies its own streaming service in 2019. Fox said in August that it expects to see high single-digit domestic affiliate fee growth every quarter in fiscal 2018. For Disney, taking control of another movie studio and significant television production assets would act as an additional extension of the Mickey Mouse-style Voltron that I happen to know the company is building (not really, but really).
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