21st Century Fox considering selling most of company to Disney

Officer Bob Iger holds a news conference at Shanghai Disney Resort as part of the three-day Grand Opening events in Shanghai China

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. The deal would not have included the Fox broadcast network, network-owned affiliate stations, Fox News, or Fox's cable sports channels, which would remain the property of Twenty-First Century Fox. Disney already owns ABC and ESPN, and believes incorporating Fox's sports coverage would encompass a monopoly and make them a target of an anti-trust case.

The deal that was under discussion, as reported by CNBC, would have seen Fox selling its movie studio, television production unit and entertainment networks to Disney.

For Fox, the willingness to engage in sale talks with Disney stems from a growing belief among its senior management that scale in media is of immediate importance and that there is not a path to gain that scale in entertainment through acquisition. Disney already owns ABC, and therefore can not also own another broadcast network, due to FCC regulations. That deal is now undergoing review by United Kingdom regulators. Disney also would pick up Fox's Star and B Sky B worldwide networks.

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Disney is interested in solidifying its Hollywood and television positions and getting the Fox library of content to bolster its arsenal against Netflix and other rivals.

A Disney spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment while Fox was not immediately available for comment. It would also mean that every major Marvel Comics property that Fox owns-including X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool-would potentially come under the Marvel Studios umbrella, opening the door to combine these various characters and universes with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As part of its streaming service announcement, Disney announced it would be ending its pay-one TV window deal with Netflix beginning with its 2019 film slate. And more resources could perhaps be diverted to sports in a leaner company, allowing Fox to possibly pick up bigger rights packages. Disney's shares were up 1.2 pct at $99.86 US.

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