Published: Tue, November 07, 2017
Culture | By Antonia Gonzales

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

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

Reports say the companies have been negotiating off and on for the last few weeks, with no deal now on the table. However, with Universal holding the Orlando-area rights to Disney's most widely-known Marvel characters, a Fox deal would mean another of Universal Orlando's top themed area would be licensed from its biggest entertainment industry rival. The inside sources say Fox is interested in focusing on sports and news and would just be selling off most of its entertainment assets. Besides the movie studio, TV production, and assets like Star and Sky, Disney would gain entertainment networks like National Geographic and FX.

Twenty-First Century Fox has a total valuation of $48 billion U.S., but the assets it would be buying are valued at about half that, Needham analyst Laura Martin told the network. Walt Disney can't own two broadcast networks, so it wouldn't buy the Fox network.

In addition to the movie studio, TV production and worldwide assets such as Star and Sky, Disney would also add entertainment networks such as FX and National Geographic. Disney would also not purchase Fox's local broadcasting affiliates, according to people familiar with the negotiations. That deal is now undergoing review by United Kingdom regulators. Essentially, piggybacking off of Disney's reach and scale could give Fox advantages that it would not have if it continues solo.

Fox's stock is up more than 7% on the reports from CNBC and The Wall Street Journal, which cite unidentified insiders and describe negotiations not now being held. Fox's claim to the X-Men has kept a number of key stories from Marvel's comics involving mutants off the table for Marvel Studios in the past, but this deal could lay the groundwork for something like an Avengers vs. So it would definitely be interesting to see how a more-focused-on sports Fox would do, and how investors would react. As a result, the deal is now effectively dead, though it should be noted that in Hollywood, deals do have a tendency to be resurrected after being officially announced as dead; the current deal between Sony and Marvel to share Spider-Man went through that very news cycle.

Shares of Fox jumped 7.5% to 26.85 in afternoon trading in the stock market today.

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