Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and there’s an awful lot of smoke billowing out of the rumored sale of most of the assets of 21st Century Fox to Disney. CNBC is reporting that Disney is “closing in on” a deal to buy the assets from Fox, which would include Fox’s stake in Hulu, movie and television production studios, stakes in Sky, regional sports networks, and some cable networks, leaving only Fox news, the Fox broadcasting network, and Fox Sports behind.
CNBC originally broke the story that negotiations had taken place between the companies, but at the time they were said to be dead. However, we speculated that the story was leaked by one of the parties to put pressure on the other, and that a deal could still take place. Last week, the rumors started heating up again, saying that a deal could be made by the end of the year. Now, CNBC says it could happen next week.
According to the report, the deal would be for over $60 billion, with Fox shareholders getting a stake in the new, smaller Fox, plus Disney stock. Disney has been dominating the other studios at the box office for several years, and this will only increase that dominance (but hey, we might get a good Fantastic Four flick).
Though the deal could raise anti-trust concerns, Disney had a long history of influence in Washington, having played a significant role in freezing the public domain and extending copyrights for immortal corporations indefinitely through their lobbying. One of Disney’s largest individual shareholders, Marvel Chairman Ike Perlmutter, is close personal friends and a political supporter of Donald Trump. Additionally, current Disney CEO Bob Iger is rumored to be planning a presidential bid himself.
Do we welcome our new Disney overlords? Will we have a choice?