A $610 million unsuccessful bid for the Indian Premier League digital media rights has laid the platform for a successful $52.4 billion deal for the transfer of the 21st Century Fox business to the Walt Disney Company!
As Star India had succeeded in its $2.55 billion bid to acquire Indian Premier League rights for a five-year cycle in September, parent company 21st Century Fox’s Executive Chairman and visionary Rupert Murdoch did not let the future of broadcast business hidden in Facebook’s failed bid go unnoticed.
The Facebook bid for the streaming rights of IPL was a sobering reminder to Murdoch that how quickly the media world was changing, according to a Bloomberg Technologies report.
The 86-year-old media tycoon, Murdoch had already begun contemplating the idea of selling major parts of Fox’s media empire to a bigger rival to create a stronger competitor in an increasingly costly entertainment industry. Facebook’s bid for the IPL came as a “warning shot” that the digital giant was “coming at sport,” Murdoch has told Fox Business Network on Thursday.
At the same time, other mega digital players like Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. have been spending lavishly to build a library of popular programs, creating a war for talent for networks like Fox’s FX.
“We’re pivoting at a pivotal moment,” Murdoch has told Sky News about the changing sphere of broadcast business.
Murdoch had initiated the deal with Disney Chairman and CEO Robert A Iger at his 13-acre Moraga Estate vineyard in Los Angeles. The media Moghuls, who jointly own streaming service Hulu, have reportedly discussed the threat from new media and discussed the future prospects for their businesses.
“I left thinking that there might be an opportunity for us to do something with him,” Iger had told Bloomberg TV on Thursday.
Disney and 21st Century Fox in a month’s time had started work with their advisers on a potential deal that Murdoch, according to Bloomberg, says takes the business “back to our roots, which is news and sports.”
Iger admitted that he hadn’t envisioned such a transaction being possible a year ago. Not even six months ago. But for Murdoch, it’s “strategically the right time and the right move.”