The Walt Disney Company has reportedly closed fast on a deal for certain 21st Century Fox assets, and a transaction could be officially announced as soon as next week.
That’s according to CNBC’s David Faber, who cites sources familiar with the matter. The news network pegs the assets for sale from Fox to have an enterprise value of about $60 billion.
Disney would acquire most of 21st Century Fox, and what’s left over at Fox would be "tightly focused on news and sports." Disney would not buy Fox’s broadcast network, Fox’s sports programming, or the Fox News or Business channels. But Disney could acquire Fox’s film and television studios, international assets like Sky and Star, and Fox’s cable networks including FX and National Geographic.
Disney could also take hold of Fox’s 30% stake in Hulu, giving Disney a controlling interest in the streaming platform—Comcast/NBCUniversal owns 30% and Time Warner owns 10% of Hulu.
Yes I did. Along with contemplated structure as well. The fact is after a brief pause the two sides have remained engaged for weeks. Price and minimizing tax leakage still issues. Not sure why that is considered news now. https://t.co/zELcwrz9dQ— David Faber (@davidfaber) December 2, 2017
According to Faber, Disney and Fox are still negotiating a price for the deal and looking for a way to mitigate tax leakages.
News of the accelerating nature of deal discussions between Disney and Fox comes after The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that the Murdoch family, which has 39% of voting shares in 21st Century Fox, is planning to make a decision on the asset sale by the end of the year.
For Disney, the deal would give it access to Fox’s content and greatly expand its current market share of the U.S. box office. Combined, Disney and Fox would control nearly 33% of this year’s box office revenues, and that’s before Disney has even released “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” a film that is tracking toward a $200 million opening weekend in the U.S. when it’s released later this month.
Disney would also gain access to more content for its upcoming direct-to-consumer streaming service and increase its stable of cable networks at a time when ballooning sports rights costs are dragging down its once-formidable ESPN.