21st Century Fox shares soar after report of sale talks with Disney

Tuesday, 07 Nov, 2017

At least one Wall Street analyst is taking a closer look at the potential deal in which The Walt Disney Co. would acquire most of the businesses of 21 Century Fox, and he likes what he sees.

The discussions have taken place over the last few weeks, CNBC reported, but there is no guarantee that they will result in a deal.

A Disney spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment while Fox declined to comment. Both companies aren't in talks but could resume them, according to the report. Disney also would pick up Fox's Star and B Sky B global networks. In addition to the movie studio, TV production and global assets such as Star and Sky, Disney would also add entertainment networks such as FX and National Geographic. Disney would also not be buying any of FOX's cable news or sports channels, the latter due to worries that combining them with Disney-owned ESPN could be seen as a violation of antitrust rules. Disney would also not purchase Fox's local broadcasting affiliates, according to people familiar with the negotiations. If a deal does happen, it could have massive implications for the entertainment business.

We'll be sure to keep you posted on this deal. That £11.7bn ($15.41bn) deal has run afoul of regulators' concerns about media plurality in the United Kingdom and the Murdochs' commitment to broadcasting standards. For one thing, Sky would be reportedly included in the sale, which would dramatically expand Disney's overseas sports presence. But Disney could acquire Fox's film and television studios, global assets like Sky and Star, and Fox's cable networks including FX and National Geographic.

Fox stock trading was halted when the news first broke. But 21st Century Fox wouldn't sell all of its company. Disney climbed 1.9% to 100.55.

Shares of Twenty-First Century Fox jumped by about 10% to as high as $27.49 after CNBC's report, while Walt Disney shares surged by almost 3% to as high as $101.12.