21st Century Fox in talks with Disney over potential mega sale

21st Century Fox Disney

Reports say the companies have been negotiating off and on for the last few weeks, with no deal now on the table. 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).

The talks indicate the challenges faced by traditional media companies in competing with new-age tech media companies like Alphabet, Facebook, Amazon, and Netflix. In light of the news, neither Fox nor Disney have been able to be reached for comment or confirmation.

An acquisition would exclude Fox News because Disney can not own two broadcast networks, the report said. 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. 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.

"I'd vote against the deal", Odey told Reuters on Tuesday, when asked about Fox's offer for the 61 percent of Sky that it does not already own.

Odey's comments come after CNBC said that Disney recently discussed buying Fox's movie and TV production studio studios, cable networks FX and National Geographic and worldwide assets such as the Star network in India and its stake in Sky. "It's a no-brainer", Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser said."The confusion is what it means for Fox". Needham & Co. Managing Dir Laura Martin said the deal could be worth $20-30B "depending how tough Fox wants to be with the negotiations" ("Power Lunch", CNBC, 11/6). Disney may want Sky as part of an worldwide streaming strategy, but a deal also would deepen its exposure to traditional businesses that have been under pressure. Chief Executive Bob Iger has said he plans to retire from Disney in July 2019, and the company is searching for a successor. Walt Disney can't own two broadcast networks, so it wouldn't buy the Fox network. Fox said in August that it expects to see high single-digit domestic affiliate fee growth every quarter in fiscal 2018. Hulu also is partially owned by Comcast Corp and Time Warner Inc.

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.

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