Disney Held Talks to Buy Most of Fox (Report)

Proposed deal would focus Fox on news and sports

21st Century Fox Disney
21st Century Fox / Disney

Twenty-First Century Fox has engaged in talks to potentially sell most of the company to Disney, CNBC reported Monday.

The deal would involve Fox’s movie studio and TV production business, leaving Rupert Murdoch’s media empire focused primarily on news and sports, according to CNBC’s David Faber. In addition international assets such as Star and BSkyB, he reported that Disney is seeking to add entertainment networks such as FX and Nat Geo.

Citing people with knowledge of the negotiations, CNBC said that the deal would not include the Fox broadcast network, the company’s 17 owned-and-operated local affiliates, Fox News and Fox Business or Fox’s sports programming assets.

The discussions have taken place over the last few weeks, CNBC reported, but there is no guarantee that they will result in a deal.

A rep for 21st Century Fox declined to comment; a rep for Disney did not respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

Shares of both Disney and Fox are down year-to-date, as the acceleration of cord-cutting and a weak box office have provided some media headwinds. However, Fox shares are up more than 5 percent on the day on the potential Disney deal; Disney shares are up about 1 percent.

Any potential acquisition would have to clear regulatory hurdles — which is one reason why Disney is not interested in certain Fox assets.

The company could not own two broadcast networks, CNBC reported, and attempting to combine Fox’s sports programming with Disney’s ESPN “could be seen as anti-competitive from an antitrust standpoint.”