Recently, Disney and 21st Century Fox have been talking about a possible acquisition. According to David Faber of CNBC, Disney wants to purchase most of Fox’s assets, excluding Fox News and any sports coverage.
Disney would buy the rights to all of Fox’s media franchises; however, it would not buy Fox’s sports programming assets because in combination with ESPN, antitrust laws may be violated due to an anticompetitive market. Disney will also neglect to buy Fox’s broadcasting network, Fox News, Business Channel or any Fox local affiliates.
That being said, if the purchase goes through, Disney will own all of Fox’s media franchises, such as “X-Men,” “Star Wars” and the “Fantastic Four” characters. Fox also currently owns the rights to the “Avatar” franchise, which has four sequels in production, according to a Facebook post from the “Avatar” production team. Disney would also gain ownership of Fox’s film studios, as well as their international media connections through Fox’s ownership of Sky.
Aside from Fox’s massive media production capabilities and ownership of popular franchises, one of Disney’s key interests in Fox’s assets comes from Disney’s recent decision to pull all their content from Netflix. Recently, they announced their intent to create a direct-to-consumer streaming website. Through the acquisition of Fox franchises, Disney could pull all Fox-owned content from Netflix and put it on their own streaming site, which could lead to a streaming platform just as big as or even bigger than Netflix.
In addition to the concern about media conglomeration, some minor concerns have come up about Fox’s franchises. For example, Fox owns the rights to “Deadpool,” an edgy film that is by no means meant for kids. Disney has a history of being family-friendly, owning franchises like “Toy Story” and “The Lion King.” The concern lies in how Fox’s popular franchises will be affected by Disney’s tradition of family-friendly content.
The deal is not yet solidified; according to CNBC, the talks between Disney and Fox are on and off. For the time being, Fox’s assets are still owned by News Corporation, and Disney remains a huge conglomerate.