Just announced, Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox has agreed to sell its assets, including all of its entertainment businesses, to Walt Disney at a tremendous $66bn deal.
The purchase will make it a landmark deal, but still falls short of other acquisitions witnessed in our past. For example, Time Warner acquired Historic TW Inc. for a whopping $186.2bn in the late 2000s and the AT&T Inc purchased BellSouth Corp. for $83.1bn in 2006.
Such a deal has been in the making for quite some time but certain complications have restricted it. Previously, the U.S. Department of Justice set out to block the AT&T-Time Warner deal claiming that Time Warner had to too much influence over the media owning both CNN and DirecTV.
21st Century Fox owns a sensational amount of worthy media which Walt Disney will soon control, and it’s all thanks to Murdoch. With an enterprise value of about $68bn, the Disney-Fox deal would create a giant with a profile somewhat similar to AT&T-Time Warner. The deal would send Fox’s studio and cable network operations, plus stakes in key assets like Hulu and Sky TV, to Disney. Unlike the “vertical” combination engineered by AT&T, this would be a horizontal transaction, meaning it would add assets of the same kind to the same portfolio.
Unless the subject is coal, the regulatory position President Donald Trump takes here is very hard to pin down, but if the deal goes through – he will surely be on the winning side knowing he has no personal conflict with either of the two companies. Comments made to CNN accusing the broadcaster of putting out “Fake News” in the past inevitably broke up the AT&T and Time Warner transaction, Disney ought not to have this complication.
It is claimed that Rupert Murdoch and President Donald Trump are in constant communication with each other and the New York Times said the two talk “almost every day”, though the White House had denied this.
Currently, Fox is under deep regulatory review of its long-running effort to gain full control of UK pay-TV giant Sky TV. 21st Century Fox currently owns a 39.1% stake in the company and on 29 June 2017, culture secretary Karen Bradley recommended that the deal be subject to a six-month review by the Competition and Markets Authority to examine its overall effects on the industry.
If the Deal goes through, and Fox’s $15.6bn bid for the remainder of Sky TV is accepted, this will majorly improve Walt Disney’s presence in Europe and especially the UK.
Given the turmoil at Fox News and its unforgettable issues following the phone hacking scandal, the likelihood this transaction will go through with Sky TV is far more possible as Disney will have a better time with UK regulators than 21st Century Fox.