Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox has held talks to sell most of its film and television assets to Walt Disney Co, which would gain new programming and expand its worldwide reach, CNBC reported on Monday.
Neither Disney nor Fox has commented on the apparent scoop, and it's crucial to note that there's no guarantee anything will happen.
Executives reportedly believe that Fox could compete more effectively if it consisted of "a more tightly focused group of properties around news and sports". It also wouldn't buy Fox's sports programming properties because combining them with ESPN could present antitrust issues.
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Any potential acquisition would have to clear regulatory hurdles - which is one reason why Disney is not interested in certain Fox assets. If and when Disney is back in possession of the rights that 21st Century Fox now holds, it would mean that Marvel Studios could finally bring a number of classic Marvel properties such as the X-Men and the Fantastic Four into its shared cinematic universe.
Could the Walt Disney Company be buying Fox? At this time it is unsure if they are looking at selling off cable networks like FX but it is reported that FOX would keep its Fox Broadcasting Co and ownership of their FOX local affiliates. But 21st Century Fox wouldn't sell all of its company. This could mean great news if you are a fan of the Marvel comic book superheroes. He assumes Fox shareholders would get equity in the larger Disney.
Fox has some advantages there next to Disney, as so much of their sports involves the broadcast network rather than cable, but the overall impact of sports rights fees and revenues would be under a bigger microscope under this structure. Eastern, while Disney stock also rose from an opening of $98.37 to $100.49.