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Report: Disney held talks to acquire most of 21st Century Fox (update)

Will Disney have the monopoly on nerds?

20th Century Fox

Disney is in talks to purchase 21st Century Fox, acquiring its slate of original titles and rights to various franchises, according to a CNBC report. CNBC notes that talks have not occurred in the past few weeks, but both companies could revisit the deal at a later date.

The report alleges that Disney would acquire the majority of the company, with the exception of Fox’s sports and news divisions. Other properties, however, including The Fantastic Four, X-Men and numerous TV series would become Disney properties. That means the X-Men could finally appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and vice-versa. Up until now, Fox has maintained the cinematic rights to the X-Men characters and their canon. Disney has used a couple of X-Men characters, most notably Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, but could not refer to them as mutants.

While having the X-Men in The Avengers is the more exciting aspect of the rumor, the more crucial element of the deal that Disney is interested in revolves around Disney’s upcoming streaming service. Disney announced earlier this year that it was ending its deal with Netflix as of 2019. Instead, Disney would bring its movies and TV series to its new streaming platform. Fox’s movies and TV series make that a much more valuable offer to viewers.

Fox has also been in the process of moving its slate of TV series off of Netflix, sending them over to Hulu instead. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, How I Met Your Mother and Futurama are just a few of the titles that Disney would acquire if this deal goes through. According to CNBC:

For Disney, the opportunity to take control of another movie studio and significant TV production assets as it readies a direct to consumer entertainment streaming offering is attractive as is fox's significant exposure to international markets, such as the U.K., Germany and Italy both through its networks and 30 percent ownership of B Sky B.

There are many questions to be answered before the deal goes through, not least of which is getting approval from the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition. Polygon has reached out to Disney for comment. Disney declined to comment on the report when asked by CNBC.

Update: A new report from the Wall Street Journal says that conversations between Disney and 21st Century Fox have reignited. The Journal reports those deal conversations “are gaining momentum,” according to people familiar with the situation. Polygon has reached out to Disney and 21st Century Fox for comment.

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