When the story first broke a few weeks back that Disney was potentially looking at acquiring a huge chunk of Fox’s film and TV properties, for many fans – who realized this meant that the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises could now be brought into the Marvel fold – it seemed like a dream. Now that dream seems to be becoming reality. A very, very expensive reality.
Following on from reports that Disney was back at the negotiating table with Fox and had gone radio silent – usually meaning that things were getting serious and they didn’t want details leaking out – it now looks as if the two studios could come to an agreement as early as 15 December. That’s next week. As previously reported, Fox would look to hold onto their lucrative news, sports and broadcast network divisions, while Disney snaps up their film and TV properties which will undoubtedly be used to heavily bolster their own digital streaming platform which is set to launch in 2019.
Along with those film and TV properties, Disney would also acquire Fox’s stake in Hulu (to supplement the portion they already own alongside Comcast), Nat Geo and Sky, the distribution rights still owned by Fox for some of the early Star Wars films, and partial ownership of comic publisher Boom! Studios. Current Fox shareholders would retain a stake in the newly trimmed down studio while acquiring shares in Disney in a fixed exchange ratio.
And according to CNBC – the ones who actually broke this rumour initially – all of this could come at an eye-watering price tag upwards of $60 billion. That’s an incredible amount of money, but consider Disney’s most recent history of massive purchases. They bought Lucasfilm for $4 billion in 2012 and have already made $3 billion of that back off just two Star Wars movies in two years. Similarly, they also acquired Marvel in 2009 for $4 billion, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe alone – ignoring the actual comics publishing side of things or any merchandising – has already earned over $5 billion for them. Forgetting the comic book movie franchises and other properties they would acquire, Fox’s gigantic slate of TV dramas alone would probably help Disney to make a sizeable dent on that $60 billion investment, so this is definitely not bad business.
This is not a done deal though. CNBC reports that its own parent company, Comcast, is also in negotiations with Fox as a potential buyer along with Sony and Verizon Communications. However, it appears that the talks with Disney have moved along the furthest and are the closest to being finalized. This would without a doubt be a massive game-changer in the entertainment business, and some would even say that Disney could be flirting with anti-trust laws with this proposed monopoly. Not that it would dissuade them. Disney has been known to make legislators in Washington look the other way in the past, and with it being rumoured that current Disney CEO Bob Iger is looking to make a run for US President in the near future, it looks like only a matter of time before the House of Mouse actually does rule the world.
Last Updated: December 6, 2017