Report: 21st Century Fox Holding Talks to Sell Its Studios, Cable Entertainment Nets to Disney

By A.J. Katz 

21st Century Fox has been holding talks to sell many of assets to Walt Disney Co., reports CNBC’s David Faber.

According to the report, conversations have taken place over the last few weeks, but are “on again, off again.” There is no certainty these talks will lead to a deal.

In this deal, Disney would add 21CF’s cable entertainment networks, including FX and Nat Geo, as well as the movie studio, the TV studio, and international assets, including 21CF’s 30 percent ownership of B Sky B and Star.

Disney would not acquire FOX in a deal (it already owns one broadcast network, ABC, and cannot own a second), nor would it add Fox Television Stations, sports or news assets.

21CF reportedly believes that a more focused group of properties around news and sports could compete more effectively in the current media marketplace.

Disney recently announced it will pull all of its movies from Netflix and establish two direct to consumer offerings; one for sports and one focusing on its key entertainment franchises, such as Star Wars and Marvel.

21CF presently has movie rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises. Combine those with Star Wars and Marvel, and you now have an extremely attractive entertainment library.

Adweek’s Jason Lynch writes about potential ad sales ramifications from a deal of this nature.

The deal would be a big shakeup for Fox Networks Group, which in May had tapped Joe Marchese as its new president of advanced advertising products. If it goes through, Marchese would lose some of his biggest advertising assets in FX and National Geographic, though 21st Century Fox could end up rolling Fox News and Fox Business Network—currently run by Marianne Gambelli—into a single, company-wide portfolio.