There can be a final announcement very soon by Walt Disney Co. about its acquisition bid for a large part of 21st Century Fox Inc., said media reports earlier in the week citing sources who are familiar with the matter
The deal would see the legendary Hollywood properties of Fox being transferred to Disney.
Comcast Corp., which had also been attempting to secure the deal and was a competitor to Disney announced recently that it had quit form the race.
Sources also reportedly said that the deal would result in the accumulation of just a small stake in Disney to a trust that is headed and owned by Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of Fox, and his family. The media reports did not identify the information source because the matters were private. A 39% stake in European satellite provider Sky Plc., a number of international assets of Fox that includes Star India’s TV channels, a number of television networks such as networks including FX and National Geographic and the movie and TV studio of Fox would be transferred to Disney through this deal. The deal would also result in the doubling of Disney’s ownership in Hulu, a US streaming-video provider, as it would acquire the Fox stake in the streaming firm. At present Disney owns 30 per cent stake in Hulu.
However, Fox Sports 1, the Fox broadcasting network and Fox News would be retained by 21st Century Fox. Sources said that wile the possibility of the merger of the remaining company with the Murdochs’ publishing company, News Corp., in the future was a possibility, for the time being at least the resultant company of Fox would remain independent.
Sources also claimed that after the deal is closed and over, a senior position at Disney would most likely be offered to the Fox chief executive officer (CEO) James Murdoch. That move could put James Murdoch in direct contention for the position of Disney CEO eventually when and after the retirement of the current Disney CEO Bob Iger.
For Rupert Murdoch, this deal would signify a huge turning point in the business career of this media mogul who had managed to get together and create huge media empire over the last seven decades or so. The deal would also see the unification of two giants in the entertainment industry. it had bene just two months that the two companies had been in discussions for the deal.
However, the deal is yet to cross the roadblock of regulatory scrutiny in Washington. It can be recalled that in recent months, a proposed merger between AT&T Inc. and Time Warner Inc- two other giants of the media industry, had been blocked through a legal suit by the US justice department.
“When a set of assets like 21st Century Fox’s becomes available, it’s our responsibility to evaluate if there’s a strategic fit that could benefit our company and our shareholders,” the cable giant said in a statement. “That’s what we tried to do and we are no longer engaged in the review of those assets. We never got the level of engagement needed to make a definitive offer.”
(Adapted from Livemint.com)