November surprise! CNBC is reporting that Fox has been in talks with Disney to sell off most of its assets, leaving behind a lean sports/news organization.
The talks have taken place over the last few weeks and there is no certainty they will lead to a deal. The two sides are not currently talking at this very moment, but given the on again, off again nature of the talks, they could be revisited.
For Fox, the willingness to engage in sale talks with Disney stems from a growing belief among its senior management that scale in media is of immediate importance and there is not a path to gain that scale in entertainment through acquisition. The company is said to believe that a more tightly focused group of properties around news and sports could compete more effectively in the current marketplace.
Significantly, this would reunite the Fox-controlled Marvel properties – X-men, Deadpool and Fantastic Four – at Disney once more, and we’d finally see the FF come back to the comics pages.
Disney would also gain such properties as The Simpsons, Planet of the Apes and Avatar.
Fox stocks prices immediately soared, and trading had to be halted.
— CNBC (@CNBC) November 6, 2017
As juicy as this rumor is, the fact that its been leaked suggests one side or the other wants some leverage in the deal, and makes it, in MY opinion anyway, less likely. News of the Disney-Marvel and Disney-Lucasfilms mergers didn’t leak and they went through.
If this deal did go through, the happiest person on earth would probably be Marvel President Isaac Perlmutter, whose hatred of the Fox deal has led to a lot of behind the scenes agita and lack of cooperation. (By comparison, Sony and the MCU are now Spider-Man led besties.)
Developing to say the least.
UPDATE: I think some observers are making more explicit what was hinted at in the CNBC piece – that the talks are currently dead.
Walt Disney Co. held talks to buy 21st Century Fox Inc.’s movie studio and other assets, a person familiar with the matter said, a deal that would have given the entertainment giant control of another studio and TV networks across the world. The two sides aren’t talking anymore, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. Fox shares surged as much as 8.9 percent, and Disney rose as much as 2.4 percent after CNBC first reported on the discussions. Both companies declined to comment.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.