By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
Update: Disney has confirmed they are buying 21st Century Fox for over $52.4 billions n. We’ll have much more soon!
There are a few things that Disney controls but that Fox stands in the way of: The original Star Wars: A New Hope and Marvel’s X-Men, chief among them. That’s because Fox controls the rights to these titles, as well as the Fantastic Four, and Deadpool. But all may be about to change as the House of Mouse has reportedly been in talks with 21st Century Fox to not only buy them out of those properties, but most the company.
According to CNBC, 21st Century Fox has been in talks with the Walt Disney Company to sell most of its assets, and that Disney will be the prime beneficiary. The idea is that Fox could focus on news (through Fox News and Fox Business Channel) and Fox Sports.
In addition to getting back its cadre of important tentpole titles, Disney would also gain control of a second major television network and a 39% share of international networks, including Star and Sky. There’s also cable channels including National Geographic and both FX Networks, and many more. Disney already controls a host of cable networks, such as their own Disney Channel properties, along with ESPN and Freeform Network.
That would make Disney the largest player in movies, television, streaming media, and mores. It could also likely mean that the FCC will be hesitant to approve such a huge acquisition without Disney at least selling off a few of the networks involved in the deal.
The value of 21st Century Fox is around $48 billion, but industry analysts believe that Disney, which does not typically overpay for their acquisitions, will be able to secure those assets for less than half that, and it would be easy for Disney to pull it off. Some are even saying that it would be a ‘dream come true’ from a financial perspective.
Disney though, would be able to bring major titles back into the fold, and superhero fans would love to see X-Men in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and to see Marvel get the Fantastic Four away from the studio that can’t seem to find a way to make a successful movie out of it. But can you really see Deadpool walking around Disneyland? Wouldn’t that be interesting.
Another interesting wrinkle is the pending retirement of Disney CEO Robert Iger. With Iger’s planned exit looming, and no clear heir apparent, it would make an acquisition of this size problematic as the incoming CEO would have two large conglomerates to oversee right as they are becoming one. On top of that, Disney’s theme parks are expanding with Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge and Marvel Lands. So any new CEO would already have their hands full. That probably explains why Iger’s exit is already two years overdue.
I’m going to toss a name out there: Kathleen Kennedy. She’s already running Lucasfilm with projected revenues of up to $25 billion for Star Wars alone. And she could be in charge of the largest entertainment company in history right when it needs a firm hand at the wheel. And if you can manage Star Wars, you can manage just about anything else in the galaxy.
We’ll have to wait and see if this mega acquisition does indeed happen.