Report: Disney Back in Talks to Buy 21st Century Fox Assets

Image: Marvel
Image: Marvel

Though reports suggested that talks stalled last month, negotiations between Disney and Fox are back on and may come to a head by the end of the year, with the potential fate of Fox’s biggest entertainment assets in the balance.

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This information comes from the Wall Street Journal, which reported today that “people familiar with the situation” say that Walt Disney Co. has returned to talks with 21st Century Fox, with Comcast also in their own separate talks to purchase the company’s assets.

Importantly to many comic and movie fans, these assets would include the film rights to a number of Marvel properties, including the X-Men and the Fantastic Four. They would also include a 30% stake in the streaming platform Hulu. As both Disney and Comcast already own 30% stakes, this deal would give either company a controlling share in the platform.

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Sony and Verizon, among other companies, have also expressed interest, according to the WSJ, though it’s unknown how involved those conversations have been.

A decision on whether or not to pursue a deal with Disney or Comcast might be made by the end of the year with Rupert Murdoch and his family, who own 39% of 21st Century Fox’s voting shares, expected to make up their mind by that time.

If either merger goes through, it could radically change the shape of big-budget entertainment. And, if Disney gets the deal, it would, as we’ve discussed before, change the Marvel Cinematic Universe forever. 

[Wall Street Journal]

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io9 Weekend Editor. Videogame writer at other places. Queer nerd girl.

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DISCUSSION

21th Century Fox still seems like a bad buy for Disney. They’ve lost like half their publishing contracts in the past decade, their Oscar-bait-indie line-up is completely uninteresting to blockbuster-only Disney, their animation franchises are on a deadend and most of the films they are currently financing are either unwanted or unliked. Deadpool 2 is pretty much the only highlight in Fox’s future.

And yes, that includes X-Men. There’s no reason for Marvel to even want to touch that. Wolverine is done, literally, Huge Jackman quit. Old X-Men aren’t interested in returning anymore, Bryan Singer has wasted the new X-Men and the spin-offs aren’t material that’s going to bring in the big bucks. It would just muddy the perfectly set-up Cinematic Universe.