And Then There Were Five? Disney Looking to Acquire Most of 21st Century Fox
Disney has been in talks to acquire 21st Century Fox's movie studio, TV production, entertainment networks, and international assets.
Today, CNBC reported that 21st Century Fox has been holding talks to sell most of the company to Walt Disney Company. No deal has been finalized and sources say the two companies have taken a break from talks, but a back-and-forth negotiation has been in the works over the past several weeks.
21st Century Fox is reported to want to streamline its holdings to focus on news and sports because it believes it cannot achieve the scale necessary to compete in the global entertainment marketplace. As such, the talks with Disney have included the potential sale of Fox's movie studio, television production, international assets including Star and Sky, and entertainment networks including FX and National Geographic Channel. The sale would not include the Fox broadcast network since Disney would not be able to own two major U.S. broadcast networks simultaneously, nor would it include any Fox Sports channels, Fox News, Fox Business or any of Fox's local affiliate stations.
If this sale were to happen, the Big Six movie studios would be reduced to the Big Five, and Disney would consolidate its position as the leader in the film marketplace. So far in 2017, Warner Bros. tops the box office chart, followed by Universal, Disney's Buena Vista, and 20th Century Fox, but Disney has yet to release the biggest film of the year, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, not to mention Pixar's newest original film Coco.
This acquisition would also bring the distribution rights of all of the Star Wars films together at Disney (a huge deal for Disney's future streaming service plans), not to mention the future releases of James Cameron's Avatar sequels (already the latest major feature of Disney World) and the reunification of the X-Men (including Deadpool) with Disney's Marvel. And we haven't even mentioned the numerous television properties including The Simpsons, Modern Family, This is Us, Empire, and The X-Files, to name a few.
We'll be keeping our eye on this potential blockbuster deal along with the rest of the industry as we assess the seismic shift it could cause.