Last month, news surfaced that Disney and 21st Century Fox were in discussion mode, negotiating a potential megadeal. Talks appeared to have cooled, but it seems the negotiations are heating up again.
Variety, through the Wall Street Journal, reports that Disney is once again talking about taking over Fox’s film library, movie and TV production arms, and FX TV networks as well as its stake in Hulu and international sports channels Sky and Star. Fox would keep its broadcast network, Fox News and Fox Sports divisions.
Comcast has also kicked the tires on possibly purchasing part of Fox, and it appears “very serious” in its attempts to acquire the available assets. In addition, Sony and Verizon are also reportedly interested.
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One industry analyst points out that the value of assets for sale could be worth an estimated cool $48.5 billion with the Fox movie and TV production arm worth another $15 billion. This would make this a huge win for the lucky suitor.
The Wall Street Journal says the Murdoch family is hoping to determine by the end of the year whether it’s worth making a sale.
Should Disney be successful in convincing the Murdochs to go into handshake mode, the 20th Century Fox film library would be a huge boon as would the television production arm. FX and FXX, as well as the National Geographic channels would go to Disney.
But there’s also the Sky Sports and Star Sports networks that would add international inventory to ESPN’s streaming service that launches next year. Offering more events from Europe and Asia could bring some added value to the over-the-top service and make ESPN more of a player in international sports.
For now, the Murdochs can play their hands and sell or just see how their assets are valued and keep them for the time being. Disney is lurking and so is Comcast. Either company could be the big winner of the 21st Century Fox sale or lose out to another suitor.
One thing is for sure, there will be a lot of interested parties monitoring this story as it plays out over the next few weeks.