"21st Century Fox has been holding talks to sell most of the company to D..."
21st Century Fox has been holding talks to sell most of the company to Disney: Sources
-21st Century Fox has been holding talks to sell most of the company to Walt Disney Co., according to people familiar with the situation.
-Disney would not purchase all of Fox, according to people with knowledge of the talks.
-Fox said to believe that a more tightly focused group of properties around news and sports could compete more effectively.
-The two sides are not currently talking at this very moment, sources said.
David Faber | @DavidFaber Published 17 Mins Ago Updated 1 Min Ago CNBC.com
21st Century Fox has been holding talks to sell most of the company to Disney: Sources 1 Min Ago | 03:08
The talks have taken place over the last few weeks and there is no certainty they will lead to a deal. The two sides are not currently talking at this very moment, but given the on again, off again nature of the talks, they could be revisited.
For Fox, the willingness to engage in sale talks with Disney stems from a growing belief among its senior management that scale in media is of immediate importance and that there is not a path to gain that scale in entertainment through acquisition. The company is said to believe that a more tightly focused group of properties around news and sports could compete more effectively in the current marketplace.
The media landscape has changed considerably in recent years with giants such as Facebook, Google (Alphabet), Amazon and Netflix changing the way people consume media and dominating the digital distribution of digital video content. Being able to compete in that changing landscape, many people believe, requires scale that a Disney has, but 21st Century Fox does not.
For Disney, the opportunity to take control of another movie studio and significant TV production assets as it readies a direct-to-consumer entertainment streaming offering is attractive as is Fox's significant exposure to international markets, such as the U.K., Germany and Italy — both through its networks and 30 percent ownership of BSkyB. Disney recently announced it will pull all of its movies from the Netflix platform and will establish two direct-to-consumer offerings: one for sports and one including its key franchises such as "Star Wars" and Marvel.
Disney would not purchase all of Fox, according to people with knowledge of the talks.
The company could not own two broadcast networks and would therefore not buy the Fox broadcast network. It would not buy Fox's sports programming assets in the belief that combining them with ESPN could be seen as anti-competitive from an antitrust standpoint and it would not buy the Fox News or Business channel. Disney would also not purchase Fox's local broadcasting affiliates, according to people familiar with the negotiations.
In addition to the movie studio, TV production and international assets such as Star and B Sky B, Disney would also add entertainment networks such as FX and National Geographic.
The contemplated structure of the deal or the price that has been discussed could not be learned. Given it would involve the sale of many, but not all of Fox's properties, it's unclear how Fox would mitigate potential tax consequences of a deal.
Disney and Fox are closing in on deal, could be announced next week: Sources
Talks have progressed and a deal could be announced as early as next week, sources tell CNBC.
The enterprise value of the Fox assets in the deal is seen as more than $60 billion.
Fox would sell movie and television production assets and keep its news, sports and broadcast network.
David Faber | @DavidFaber Published 34 Mins Ago Updated 12 Mins Ago
Walt Disney Co. and 21st Century Fox are closing in on a deal and it could come as soon as next week, according to sources familiar with the matter.
CNBC has been reporting that Disney has held talks with the Rupert Murdoch-controlled media company to acquire its studio and television production assets, leaving Fox with its news and sports assets. Fox is also talking to CNBC parent company Comcast, but the talks with Disney have progressed more significantly.
The deal contemplates the sale of Fox's A&E, Star, regional sports networks, movie studios and stakes in Sky and Hulu, among other properties. What would remain at Fox includes its news and business news divisions, broadcast network and Fox sports.
The enterprise value for the Fox assets in the Disney deal is seen as above $60 billion, according to sources. Current Fox shareholders would get one share of the Fox company that remains after the movie and television assets are sold plus shares of Disney in a fixed exchange ratio.
Shares of 21st Century Fox rose 3.5 percent, while shares of Disney fell 0.98 percent Tuesday. Shares of Comcast fell 0.77 percent.
Comcast bids $65 billion for most of 21st Century Fox by Jill Disis June 13, 2018: 4:47 PM ET
Comcast is going all-in to win 21st Century Fox. The company on Wednesday formalized a $65 billion all-cash bid for most of Fox. It's a dramatic attempt to thwart Disney, which reached a $52.4 billion deal in December for the same film and TV assets.
Comcast's (CMCSA) move comes one day after a federal judge ruled that AT&T (T) could buy Time Warner (TWX). The Justice Department had sued to stop the deal. (CNN is a unit of Time Warner.)
The offer sets the stage for a high-stakes bidding war between two of the biggest players in media and telecom. Both Comcast and Disney (DIS) are eager to buy Fox as a way to bolster their influence in a changing industry.
Consumers are cutting their cable subscriptions and spending more time with online services like Netflix (NFLX). Purchasing Fox is a way to scale up.
The winner of the Comcast-Disney showdown would get Fox's movie studio, which is responsible for franchises like "Avatar" and "X-Men," along with Fox's regional sports networks and cable channels like FX and National Geographic.
Fox's Rupert Murdoch is keeping a few properties, including Fox News, the Fox Sports national cable channels and the Fox broadcasting network. Those will be spun off into a new company.
"We have long admired what the Murdoch family has built at Twenty-First Century Fox," Comcast CEO Brian Roberts wrote Wednesday in a letter to Fox detailing the proposal.
Comcast was in talks to buy Fox late last year. But it lost out to Disney in part because major Fox investors weren't sure the proposal would win over government regulators. Around the same time, the Justice Department sued to block the AT&T-Time Warner deal.
Both deals share similarities: AT&T and Comcast are distributors trying to buy content creators.
Comcast re-entered the picture last month when it said publicly that it was preparing a bid for Fox.
Roberts is known as a tenacious dealmaker. One of his direct reports, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke, told the Los Angeles Times: "Brian never gives up. We have worked on a lot of deals together and he just out-hustles everyone. He's a very persistent guy."
Wednesday's offer is likely a sign that Comcast thinks AT&T's victory might help its chances, and placate the antitrust concerns that Fox had last year.
Roberts wrote in his letter that Comcast is "highly confident" its offer will "obtain all necessary regulatory approvals in a timely manner." He said Comcast's proposal is at least as likely to pass muster with regulators as Disney's.
Now the ball is in Fox's court. The company's board will need to determine whether Comcast's offer is reasonably likely to be better than Disney's. If they do, they will start negotiating with Comcast.
Should the board decide Comcast has the better deal, Disney would have five days to come up with a counter.
Disney wins: Comcast drops its bid for 21st Century Fox by Dylan Byers and David Goldman July 19, 2018: 9:32 AM ET
Disney has won the war for 21st Century Fox. Comcast announced Thursday that it will drop its pursuit of the 21st Century Fox assets that it was fighting over with Disney.
Comcast had bid $65 billion for Fox's movie studio, which is responsible for franchises like "Avatar" and "X-Men," along with Fox's regional sports networks and cable channels like FX and National Geographic. Disney's most recent bid was $71 billion.
The battle with Disney isn't completely over: Comcast said Thursday it will continue to pursue its bid for British broadcaster Sky, which Disney is also trying to buy through Fox. Comcast has offered $34 billion for that company.
A Comcast takeover of Sky would deprive Fox, and thus Disney, of a major direct-to-consumer platform in Europe that Iger has described as a "crown jewel" of the Fox assets.
Over the course of the bidding war, 21st Century Fox's value surged 36% as Disney, then Comcast, then Disney again bid for rights to most of Rupert Murdoch's media empire.
The Murdochs will hold onto their broadcast, news and national sports programming, including Fox News, Fox Business and Fox Sports. The new company, known as "New Fox," will be headed by Lachlan Murdoch.
"I'd like to congratulate Bob Iger and the team at Disney and commend the Murdoch family and Fox for creating such a desirable and respected company," Comcast chief Brian Roberts said in a statement.
The bidding war between Iger and Roberts had become one of the most closely followed stories among Hollywood executives, given the sheer scale of the acquisition and the two men's well-known dislike for one another.
By winning the war for Fox, Disney will now have arguably the most formidable content portfolio in all of Hollywood, adding to an already impressive stable that includes Marvel, Pixar and LucasFilm.
But Sky is the other piece of the puzzle: One of Disney's top priorities is building direct-to-consumer relationships globally, so that it can compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon. Sky has a direct-to-consumer relationship with 23 million paying subscribers across five European countries, making it a key part of the overall Fox acquisition.
Should Sky go to Comcast, Iger would effectively cede the direct-to-consumer market in Europe to Roberts, who would then oversee the biggest pay-TV provider in the world.
Disney won the US Justice Department's approval for its acquisition of Fox assets last month. It agreed to spin off Fox's sports networks to get the government's blessing.
In an unrelated but equally consequential decision, the Justice Department last week appealed a court's approval of AT&T's purchase of Time Warner, the parent company of CNN.
That effectively drove a stake through Comcast's chances of buying Fox: Comcast's deal looks a lot more like AT&T's Time Warner purchase than Disney's Fox bid.