US business channel CNBC first reported early yesterday that The Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox had been in talks about Disney acquiring some of the assets of Fox. The reported assets that could change hands include the Fox movie and TV studios, the FX cable network plus Fox’s share of US streaming service Hulu.
Both companies initially declined to comment on the reports, yet The New York Times later confirmed the discussions had taken place, noting the discussions had ended, yet could possibly be restarted.
It was also reported that Disney would possibly acquire Fox’s stake in European subscription TV platform Sky.
Fox assets apparently not for sale, in part because of regulatory hurdles, are Fox News and Fox Sports plus the Fox broadcast network and the TV stations it owns.
The acquisition for Disney would mean a stronger content stream for the proposed subscription platform it is launching to compete with Netflix.
Disney is expected to comment on the reports at its release of its full year results on Friday morning. Meanwhile 21st Century Fox has an earnings report due out Thursday morning.
The AFR’s Tony Boyd comments that Rupert Murdoch‘s long-standing succession planning, which involved handing control of his two separate global businesses to sons James and Lachlan, looks to have come unstuck.
“How else to interpret this week’s news that 21st Century Fox has been in discussions to sell most of its entertainment assets to Walt Disney Co?
“James Murdoch has been running 21st Century Fox ever since Murdoch senior bowed to the demands of investors and split his global media empire in half.”