21st Century Fox has recently been engaging in negotiations to sell most of their company, including their comic-book properties, with the Walt Disney Company.
Currently there is no deal between the two companies — however, these talks have been privately taking place for the past couple of weeks. At this time, the meetings have halted, yet this may just be the nature of the on-again, off-again industry.
Fox is looking to sell their properties in order to create a company that’s focused solely on news and sports, according to CNBC. They have decided to emphasize the importance of media in the current marketplace, rather than entertainment and film.
“Content is the weapon of choice in this over-the-top game,” said Peter Csathy, chairman of CREATV Media, via Deadline. “Crafty Disney can use content offensively and defensively. It can withhold its treasure trove of content and characters […] from Netflix, or use some of the biggest brands in the world, the biggest franchises — Star Wars, Pixar, Marvel, now maybe X-men is another one — to its advantage.”
Should the talks proceed and contracts be made, Disney would be given rights to all Fox properties. The opportunity for Disney to take control of yet another massive movie studio and TV production would be a substantial purchase. Given Disney’s plan to start their own streaming service, removing all their films from Netflix in the process, the ability to include Fox’s library in the bundle would make it all the more attractive to consumers.
The deal isn’t only for the X-Men properties — the offer would come with all their IPs as well. Fox “offers significant more IP — especially in older demos — versus the Disney franchises,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Steven Cahall wrote via Deadline. “In addition to bringing Marvel’s X-Men back to the rest of the studio, Fox has major franchises including Planet of the Apes, Kingsman and Alien, not to mention plenty of Oscar-worthy films like The Revenant, The Martian and Birdman. This could help fill in the adult interest in DTC beyond Marvel and Star Wars films.”
There’s also the issue of Sky — Fox’s international business, in which they own a 39% stake of — which is also being put up for bid. “We still see a successful conclusion of the [Fox Sky] bid as the most likely conclusion, which means the [Sky] shares offer significant upside,” said Liberum Capital analyst Ian Whittaker via the Hollywood Reporter. “However, we understand this news will cause further uncertainty […] Fox may snap its bid for Sky as part of the proposed sale of assets. And second, Fox’s willingness to consider including the Sky stake as part of the disposal assets is a signal that it feels less confident over gaining regulatory approval from the U.K. government with the news that regulator Ofcom has stated the Fox News Channel had breached broadcasting standards adding further fuel to the fire.”
While the information is vast and can be confusing, the main point is that Fox and Disney could be closing in on these deals in the near future. Disney would not own everything Fox has to offer — they would keep their broadcasting networks. But they would gain access to their film properties and other networks, which would cover areas and audiences that Disney has not yet tapped.
Of course, we’re left with all kinds of questions, like is Disney becoming too powerful? Are the X-men going to appear in Avengers: Infinity War? What would a Deadpool movie under Kevin Feige’s reign look like? etc. And while these questions are valuable to all of us fans, it’s also important to not lose sight of the bigger picture and remember that there’s a lot of people’s jobs on the line in these talks.
That being said, we’re going to pose the question to you. What do you think of these talks? Do you think they’ll follow through? What does this mean for Fox and Disney? Let us know in the comments below.