'The Simpsons' Predicted Disney Would Buy 21st Century Fox Back in 1998

Ann Santiago
November 8, 2017

Disney was reportedly interested in buying Fox assets including its studio division, partial ownership of the United Kingdom telecoms company Sky, and networks such as National Geographic and FX.

The sources say the deal could also get Disney the company's related entertainment networks National Geographic and FX.

Sky News could be shuttered if United Kingdom regulators do not approve 21st Century Fox's $15.3 billion deal for full control of European pay TV giant Sky, according to documents released Tuesday.

The deal does not include, however, the Fox News network or its local broadcasting affiliates.

Because of the size of the deal, Disney and Fox would be required to file with the government before they could consummate the agreement. Fox Exec Chair Rupert Murdoch had spent the past several years "setting up his sons to take the helm".

The two sides aren't talking now, and may never come back to the table again. The fact that the Murdoch family empire, or at least parts of it, are for sale is a "big change". The two companies are also thought to not be now in discussion, though talks could resume soon.

Were such a deal to take place, it would attract considerable regulatory scrutiny as it would dramatically reshape the global media landscape, bringing together two of the world's largest film and television studios. It also wouldn't buy Fox's sports programming properties because combining them with ESPN could present antitrust issues.

The company also indicated it would make "significant" investment in an annual slate of original films, TV programmes, shortform content and other Disney-branded exclusives. Fox shares have been "swooning for much of the year". DEADLINE's Chmielewski & Hayes noted in the short term, most Wall Street analysts and media observers see "plenty of upside for Disney but murkier prospects for Fox" (DEADLINE.com, 11/6).

Disney announced earlier this year it was pulling its film content from Netflix in 2019 and launching a rival Disney-branded global streaming service.

HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF? CNBC contributor Dan Nathan said this deal would be a "massive risk" for Disney and "one of the reasons they're in this situation right now is that people think they way overpaid for a lot of these sports rights a long time ago". With these stations-as well as Fox News-remaining with Fox, Disney and Fox's cable networks would complement each other well, offering few, if any, instances of direct competition.

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