An article on CNBC , claiming sources close to negotiations, reports that The Walt Disney Company is considering buying most of the operations and assets of 21st Century Fox. Even for an entertainment giant the size of The Walt Disney Company, this is huge news.
According to the article, 21st Century Fox would spinoff all but their news and sports operations to Disney.
Negotiations like this are not uncommon and often amount to nothing when the two (or more) sides can’t come to an agreement. But consolidation in the entertainment industry is not unexpected over the next 10 years as the advantages of scale make diminishing revenue opportunities less of a problem.
This move would be especially strong for Disney’s as yet unnamed digital streaming platform for movies and TV expected to rollout in 2019. Adding 21st Century Fox’s huge library of movies and whatever else is in production would be a big score. It could also bring back in house the Marvel properties that Fox secured prior to Disney’s acquisition of the super hero comic book company (mainly the X-men but also the Fantastic Four).
Fox, of course, owns the FOX network, which would be left out of the deal as Disney can’t own two major networks according to anti-competitive regulations at the FCC. Nor would Disney acquire the Owned & Operated local broadcasting stations in Fox’s network (for similar anti-competitive behavior rules – although Sinclair may be shifting those rules, so who knows). Same thing goes for the sports networks.
Fox’s other assets include movie studios like 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Blue Sky Studios, and 20th Century Fox Animation, plus entertainment networks like FX, FXM, and National Geographic. Acquisition of Fox movie studio assets would give Disney control of the IP of some of the top performing animated films outside of Disney including: Ice Age, Rio, Robots, The Simpsons, and Anastasia.
21st Century Fox, began, of course as a merger of Fox film and Twentieth Century Pictures in 1935. Fox films was founded in 1915, which many use as the official starting date. Either way, the merger of two of Hollywood’s oldest, most powerful, and most prolific studios, would shake up the town and make acquisitions like Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm seem like small potatoes.
This is, of course, just a report from ‘sources.’ Disney and Fox have declined to officially comment.