What might be the biggest merger in the entertainment industry this century may reality within a few days. A new report says that a deal between the Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox may be announced as earlier as sometime this week.
According to Bloomberg, as of today the other major company in talks with Fox, Comcast Corp., is no longer in the running leaving little to stand in the way of Disney and Fox to make a deal. As we've previously reported, rumors of the deal first broke in November only for talks to quickly halt, however talks picked back up again. Disney's current CEO, Bob Iger, may even stay on at Disney past his current contract's expiration should the deal go through.
In the deal, 21st Century Fox would keep Fox News, the Fox broadcast network and Fox Sports 1 while Disney would acquire Fox's movie and TV studio, including networks such as FX, National Geographic, as well as Fox's stake in the streaming service, Hulu. According to Bernstein Research analyst Todd Juenger, the Disney/Fox deal is estimated at around $74 billion.
Disney's motivation to purchase Fox's movie and TV assets is based largely on the Fox's Marvel properties. The company presently owns rights to the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool. Marvel first sold the rights to those characters as well as other major properties when the company was on the verge of bankruptcy back in the 1990s. Another company, Sony, currently has rights to Spider-Man with Disney working out a deal with Sony that allowed Spider-Man to debut in Captain America: Civil War.
The possible Disney/Fox deal is exciting to Marvel fans eager to see characters like the X-Men join the Marvel Cinematic Universe -- or even just for a good Fantastic Four movie -- but it's not just fans who would like to see the Fox properties make their way back into the fold. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige is himself reportedly eager get his hands on the mutants of the X-Men.
Of course, Bloomberg points out that even though a deal announcement is likely this week, that doesn't mean it would be a done deal. Any Disney/Fox deal would face regulatory scrutiny in Washington and the Justice Department has sued to block other media mega mergers, such as the one between AT&T and Time Warner.
Stay tuned for more information on the Disney/Fox acquisition as it becomes available.