The Walt Disney Company has reportedly been in discussions with 21st Century Fox about buying a significant portion of Fox’s film and television business.
According to CNBC, who cited unnamed sources, Disney would acquire most of 21st Century Fox, and what would be left of 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.
But the news should be taken with a grain of salt, as the report points out that discussions are not currently ongoing and that the talks might not lead to a deal.
Both 21st Century Fox and Walt Disney Company are scheduled to report quarterly results this week.
For Fox, reports of a Disney acquisition discussion come amid the company’s pursuit of a majority stake in European pay TV operator Sky. That deal is currently undergoing review by U.K. regulators.
For Disney, buying up Fox’s film and TV production assets along with its cable networks would give the company added scale and content as it prepares to launch its own branded streaming service in 2019.
Both Disney and Fox have been making changes to their digital content strategies this year. As part of its streaming service announcement, Disney announced it would be ending its pay-one TV window deal with Netflix beginning with its 2019 film slate. Disney plans to put its animated and live action films—along with its Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars movies—on its new service.
Fox has begun moving shows from Netflix to Hulu, including “How I Met Your Mother,” which ranks only behind “Friends” in the firm’s power ratings, while also creating the ad-free FX+ with Comcast, which could eventually become an exclusive home for FX series.