Friday, 17 November, 2017

Sale talks: Disney eyes Fox

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Marta Holmes | 08 November, 2017, 00:37

The Walt Disney Company recently held talks with 21st Century Fox about buying up most of the USA media giant headed by Rubert Murdoch.

The bank also said in the event that a Fox/Sky deal was blocked, based on the CNBC article, Disney could be a potential strategic bidder for Sky and it noted it would not have the cross-media complications of a Fox bid. The two media conglomerates, which have talked about a deal in recent months, collectively control 29.6 percent of the USA film market, and a sizable chunk of the worldwide market.

Neither company is talking publicly about the CNBC report, which indicated that there are no current discussions between the entertainment giants, but "they could be revisited".

The British company was already starting to build a pan-European streaming platform with its Now TV and Sky Ticket products, and the addition of content from Disney as well as Fox would only make that more compelling, it said. Fox management reportedly believes that the most important near-term goal is scale within media and that acquisitions will not provide a path toward gaining the desired scale.

Odey's opposition to the 11.7 billion-pound ($15.4 billion) takeover comes after CNBC reported that Murdoch's Fox had recently held talks about selling some assets to Disney.

For the moment, no deal to sell a portion of the Fox company to Disney has taken place. It also wouldn't buy Fox's sports programming properties because combining them with ESPN could present antitrust issues. Sources said that Disney also would "not purchase Fox' local broadcast affiliates". Facebook, Alphabet's Google, Netflix and Amazon have dramatically changed the landscape within the media industry, causing big changes in how people consume media and becoming dominant in digital distribution.

The 21st Century Fox stock price immediately began spiking in response to the report, jumping by 10 percent by mid-afternoon of the trading day.

See, Fox controls the film rights to X-Men, Fantastic Four, and all related properties. The House of Mouse is preparing two direct-to-consumer streaming products, one for sports and one for major franchises like Marvel and Star Wars, after pulling its content from Netflix. In light of the news, neither Fox nor Disney have been able to be reached for comment or confirmation. Disney's focus has been on adding smaller players to its stable, such as Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios and Pixar but a purchase of 21st Century Fox would utterly transform its overall footprint.


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