Disney Nearing Deal With 21st Century Fox After Comcast Bows Out

Disney now leads the way in the race to buy 21st Century Fox as Comcast (another prospective buyer of the entertainment division) decides to call it quits.

It’s beginning to look a lot like the Mouse House is about to get even bigger with the 21st Century Fox deal on the horizon, as Comcast, a fellow company that was looking into purchasing Fox’s assets, has now decided to throw in the towel. This puts Disney in the best possible position to buy most of the company’s assets.

Variety has reported that discussions are apparently so close between Disney and Twentieth Century Fox that Comcast has decided that there’s no way that they’re going to be able to out-bid their competitor, and that they have stopped having discussions about an acquisition. Comcast — who owns Universal Pictures — issued the following statement on the situation:

“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. 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. We have a terrific company with a strong portfolio of businesses and will continue to focus on driving growth, innovating, creating great content, and providing excellent experiences for our customers.”

The acquisition would come just in time for Disney’s planned streaming service, which would give them a wealth of content for viewers to play at launch when the service goes up in 2019. Disney’s planned purchasing price of Fox is planned to be as low as $60B, but analysts are suggesting that a purchase in the $70B-$74B range is looking more likely. Either way, the buyout would represent the largest acquisition that the company has ever made under CEO Bob Iger, whose corporate conquests include the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel Comics, and Lucasfilm.

The deal is set to include an acquisition of major assets across Fox’s movie and television divisions. The Murdoch Family, who run 20th Century Fox and News Corp, are said to have come to this decision as a result of deliberation about the value of their intellectual properties — and they ultimately decided that now is the time when the brands are at their most valuable, with a shift planned to move away from entertainment and to move toward covering news and sports. Should this deal go through, James Murdoch is rumored to have his sights on a seat on Disney’s board of directors.

Source: Variety