Reports indicate that Disney and Comcast are still interested in acquiring key media assets belonging to 21st Century Fox despite concerns that the Trump administration is unlikely to give a nod to such a development given that the Justice Department has already gone to court to block AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner.
According to sources 21st Century Fox is still in discussions that are very preliminary with Disney and Comcast as well as other suitors with a view to selling assets that include the cable group of National Geographic, FX networks, the television and film studios of 20th Century Fox and its stake in Hulu. 21st Century Fox is also said to be looking to sell international television platforms such as Star India and Sky.
Executives from NBCUniversal and Comcast are said to be seriously studying the assets and crunching the numbers using information that is already publicly available. It is understood that the talks have not progressed to the point where 21st Century Fox has sent out briefing books and documents or asked for the signing of non-disclosure agreements with potential bidders.
Per Michael Nathanson, a media analyst at MoffettNathanson, the asset value of what 21st Century Fox wants to sell is approximately $48.5 billion. The value of the library as well as the film and production operation of 20th Century Fox is estimated to be about $15 billion. On the other hand the assets that 21st Century Fox would remain with, and this includes Fox Sports, Fox News, Fox Broadcasting, are estimated to be worth around $40.6 billion.
News and sports
A streamlined 21st Century Fox without the entertainment cable networks and studio would still possess clout because of the sports rights that Fox Broadcasting holds for the NFL and other leagues. Fox News’ prominence and hold on Conservatives in the United States would also greatly contribute to the clout.
“With many pressures hitting the media industry Fox’s potential moves make immense sense. Paring down their asset base would not change this hand and would underscore the massive relative value here,” wrote Nathanson.
Walt Disney’s interests in the entertainment properties of 21st century Fox is believed to be driven by the plans of the media conglomerate to develop a streaming service to compete with the likes of Amazon and Netflix. By acquiring these entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox, Disney will have access to a broader channel portfolio as well as more movies and television shows to offer.