Disney resumes Fox takeover talks – report

Disney StudiosThe Walt Disney Company has reportedly reopened talks with Rupert Murdoch and 21st Century Fox over the latter’s entertainment assets.

News Disney had first gone in for Fox’s TV and film businesses emerged early last month, but those negotiations led to nothing.

Disney is known to be in acquisitive mood ahead of the launch of its global SVOD service in 2019, and The Wall Street Journal has reported that talks have resumed.

The FT claims “multiple people with knowledge of the talks” are aware of the conversations.

On the table are the Fox cable networks, including FX and National Geographic; the Fox TV and film studio; and international assets such as a significant stake in Sky, ownership of India’s Star TV, and the Fox Networks Group channels around the world.

Fox is currently struggling to complete its £11.7 billion (US$15.4 billion) deal to acquire 100% of UK-based Sky, which has successful pay TV operations in major European territories.

Should Disney land the assets, it would have arguably the strongest entertainment business in world media, adding the valuable businesses and brands such as The X Men to Pixar, Marvel Entertainment, Lucasfilm and ESPN.

This would give it scale against the likes of Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Facebook and Google, all of whom are pushing heavily into entertainment media.

Fox would keep its broadcast network, the Fox News cable channel and Fox Sports.

NBCUniversal parent Comcast and US telco Verizon have also explored a takeover of Fox’s entertainment business, though both may find regulatory hurdles in their path.

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