21st Century Fox, the media giant controlled by tycoon Rupert Murdoch, has held talks to sell most of its film and television assets to Walt Disney Co., CNBC reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
The talks took place over the last few weeks and there is no certainty they will lead to a deal, the report said.
The two sides are not currently talking at the moment, but given the on again, off again nature of the talks, they could be revisited, it said.
For Fox, the willingness to engage in sale talks with Disney stems from a growing belief among its senior management that scale in media is of immediate importance.
The company is said to believe that a more tightly focused group of properties around news and sports could compete more effectively in the current marketplace.
For Disney, the opportunity to take control of another movie studio and significant TV production assets is attractive as is Fox’s significant exposure to international markets.
If a deal materializes in future, it will leave Fox as a firm tightly focused on news and sports.
Disney will not purchase all of Fox, sources told CNBC.
The company cannot own two broadcast networks and would therefore not buy the Fox broadcast network.
It will not buy Fox’s sports programming assets in the belief that combining them with ESPN could be seen as anti-competitive from an antitrust standpoint.
A deal will also exclude Fox News and Fox Business channel, as well as Fox’s local broadcasting affiliates.
But the movie studio, TV production and international assets such as Star and Sky are said to be part of the talks.
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