Walt Disney is closing in on a deal to acquire a significant share of rival media company 21st Century Fox’s business interests.
US business news television channel CNBC has reported that Disney would acquire television and studio production assets, leaving Fox with its sports and news interests. Fox is also said to be in talks with US telecommunications firm Comcast, but CNBC has written that negotiations with Disney have progressed more significantly, adding that a deal valued at more than $60bn could come as soon as next week.
The proposed deal, according to CNBC, includes the sale of Fox’s Star network in India, regional sports networks in the US, Nat Geo, movie studios and stakes in European pay-television broadcaster Sky and US VOD service Hulu, among other properties. Fox would retain its news and business news divisions, broadcast network and Fox Sports.
The Murdoch family, which controls Fox, prefers a deal with Disney because it would rather be paid in Disney than Comcast stock, adding that it expects a potential deal with Disney to receive US regulatory clearance more easily, according to a Reuters report.
Fox chief executive James Murdoch is being lined up as a potential successor to Disney chief executive Bob Iger, should the deal go through, Financial Times has reported. Rupert Murdoch and his younger son, James, could take senior roles at a combined company, the report states. Iger is due to retire in 2019.
However, James Murdoch has declined to comment on the reports.