A month ago we reported that the House of Mouse was in talks to buy 20th Century Fox in a deal that would give Disney…an unprecedented monopoly.
Since then, the deal was was rumored to have stalled and even Comcast was reported to be having a look-see at 20th Century Fox for possible purchase.
But now, the Wall Street Journal reports that the acquisition is more or less a done deal, saying that the deal could be announced as soon as next week, with Disney CEO Bob Iger likely to stay on through 2019.
By purchasing the assets of 20th Century Fox, Disney would own the feature film and TV divisions, meaning all the original Star Wars trilogy films would officially be owned by Lucasfilm/Disney, including of course the original, untampered cut of Star Wars: A New Hope. It would also mean that every major Marvel Comics property that Fox owns – including X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool – would come under the Marvel Studios umbrella, opening new opportunities to combine these various characters within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Evidently, 21st Century Fox believes that it can’t compete with the size of other studios and that Disney has the scale required to take its film and television productions to new heights.
But 21st Century Fox wouldn’t sell all of its company. By offloading its media properties, the studio would keep a tight focus on news and sports. Since a company can’t own two broadcast networks, Fox would remain under the 21st Century Fox umbrella and so would the Fox sports programming as joining forces between ESPN and Fox Sports could be seen as anti-competitive from an antitrust standpoint. The same reasoning relates to their decision not to buy Fox News or Fox Business, which would also remain with 21st Century Fox.
However, Disney would own the movie studio, TV production and international assets and networks such as FX, National Geographic and possibly even Sky. The movie implications are the largest here, from the consumer’s point of view. Fox has done a nice job over the past year or two with building up its own Marvel universe with divergent films like Logan (2017) and the upcoming New Mutants, Deadpool 2 and X-Force. The timeline implications of incorporating these into the MCU would be a nightmare, so it’s more than likely Disney would keep those separate for now while allowing Marvel Studios to reboot properties like the Fantastic Four under the MCU umbrella.
From a financial standpoint the potential here is…frightening and the merchandising opportunities alone for Disney would be reason enough to make the purchase.
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