It’s been a long “will they or won’t they” saga between Disney and 21st Century Fox, but after initial reports indicated that talks for the House of Mouse to buy most of Fox’s media assets started and stopped, CNBC now says that talks have not only resumed, but may result in a finalized deal as early as next week.
Fox is hoping to sell off their film and television production assets, while keeping their news and sports properties. The Rupert Murdoch-owned corporation has also been holding talks with Comcast, but reports say that Murdoch and co. much prefer Disney as a buyer. The production assets being shopped include National Geographic, Star, regional sports networks, movie studios, and stakes in Sky and Hulu (Disney also has a stake in Hulu, and acquiring Fox’s stake would make Disney the majority stakeholder).
Sources tell CNBC that Fox’s properties are valued at around $60 billion—compare this figure to the previously reported number of $20 to $30 billion.
Comic book fans remain optimistic that the generally mishandled X-Men and Fantastic Four properties will return under the Disney/Marvel umbrella (“Fantastic Four: Homecoming,” anyone?), but Disney buying out one of the few big movie studio competitors also leads to fears of the company becoming an unstoppable monopoly. Besides the aforementioned Marvel properties, Fox also has the rights to the original Star Wars trilogies and the Avatar franchise (the Walt Disney World park recently opened Avatar-themed attractions).
As a deal is reportedly imminent, check back with Paste next week to see how this potential conglomerate merger turns out.