Disney Re-Engages in Talks to Buy 21st Century Fox Assets

12/02/17 01:45 PM EST
By Dana Mattioli and Amol Sharma 

Walt Disney Co. has re-engaged in discussions with 21st Century Fox to purchase some of the media giant's assets, and Comcast Corp. remains in the mix, with deal talks gaining momentum, according to people familiar with the situation.

The talks center on the Twentieth Century Fox movie and TV studio, international assets such as Fox's 39% holding in U.K. satellite TV provider Sky PLC and India's Star TV, along with some U.S. cable networks. Fox News, the Fox broadcast network and sports network FS1 aren't expected to be sold in any transaction, the people said.

Rupert Murdoch and his family, who hold 39% of 21st Century Fox's voting shares, expect to make a decision by year's end on whether to pursue a transaction, the people said.

Disney first reached out to 21st Century Fox about a possible deal several weeks ago, but the talks cooled after the two sides couldn't agree on price, among other issues, people familiar with the matter have said.

Once news of those initial talks surfaced, other potential acquirers began emerging. Comcast, Sony Corp.'s entertainment unit, and Verizon Communications Inc., are among firms that have expressed various levels of interest, the people familiar with the situation say. The extent of discussions with Sony and Verizon is unclear. A top Verizon executive last week played down the need for the company to do a big content acquisition.

Disney and Comcast are in active talks with 21st Century Fox. It is possible the talks could fall through and a deal won't be reached.

21st Century Fox and Wall Street Journal-parent News Corp share common ownership.

Write to Dana Mattioli at dana.mattioli@wsj.com and Amol Sharma at amol.sharma@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 02, 2017 13:45 ET (18:45 GMT)

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