Currently, there are six movie studios that qualify as the "Majors." They are Paramount, Warner Bros., Universal, Sony, 21st Century Fox and Walt Disney. If rumored deals come to pass, however , those last two might merge into a media powerhouse that would create ripples across almost every form of communication.
Though it's being reported that the two sides are not in discussion at the moment, CNBC is reporting that talks between Walt Disney and 21st Century Fox for the former to purchase the latter have been ongoing and may be revisited soon, leading both companies on a path to a merger that would focus on news and sports. According to the report, Fox needs Disney's help in staying relevant on a growing media landscape that is being broadened by corporate giants like Facebook, Google, Amazon and Netflix. The specific details about what is being sold, what is being bought, and who will own what is likely where the sticking points between the companies continue to arise.
The term being used by those familiar with the talks says that Disney would buy "most" of Fox. As CNBC notes, there are certain elements of the major media player that Disney can not take over. For example, Disney would not be permitted to own and operate two broadcast television networks, so it would not add Fox to its holding alongside ABC. It's also being said that Disney would not buy Fox's sports programming assets, as they feel it would compete directly with Disney-owned ESPN. Disney also is not showing any interest in Fox News or Fox Business, and would leave the company's local affiliates where they were.
What would Disney buy? According to the reports, Disney would by Fox's movie studio, it's TV production and international assets, entertainment networks like FX and National Geographic, and global brands like Star and Sky.
Fox and Disney officials declined to comment on this deal, and the talks -- as mentioned before -- may have stalled but could start up again soon.
The ramifications of this deal would reach far and wide, obviously. Disney would turn into a legit behemoth on the film studio side, absorbing a fellow "major" and giving it the opportunity to benefit from properties and characters currently owned by Fox. (Hello, X-Men and Fantastic Four in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.) On the TV side, properly regulating the deal to prevent Disney from having a monopoly would take careful care and consideration, but if it happened, Disney would be a massively powerful media house with several noteworthy outlets in its pocket.
Do you think this is the right move for Fox? Or do you think competition from rival studios keeps creativity fresh? We already live in a Disnified world. Would this step bring us closer to global Disney domination?
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.