Despite Comcast’s best efforts, it looks like Disney will be the company to buy most of 21 Century Fox’s properties, as that deal has just passed the legal hurdle needed to go through.
Bloomberg News reports that the Department of Justice signed off on the deal on the morning of June 27, 2018.
This certainly makes it look as if the Mouse House will win the contest in the end, but Comcast is apparently not backing down. According to reports, the company is “now mulling its next steps, including teaming up with private equity investors in its pursuit of Fox assets,” and may up their previous offers to almost $90 billion, compared to Disney’s newest bid of $71.3 billion.
The Disney/Fox deal was agreed upon last December, initially for $52.4 billion, and will allow the former company to acquire nearly all of Fox’s properties. The Department of Justice has cited the Fox Sports channel, and regional equivalents, as being verboten due to antitrust laws (Disney already owning ESPN). Disney will also not be getting the actual Fox network, since it owns ABC, but will get the rights to its various programs.
Reportedly, Fox wants to concentrate its attention on news and sports programs, which are much cheaper to make compared to original content. As such, this deal works out well for both companies, as it will put an astounding number of new intellectual properties in Disney’s control.
Comcast, which counts NBCUniversal, DreamWorks and Illumination among its holdings, seems determined to get the Fox properties for itself; however, Fox seems to prefer Disney, perhaps in part for fears that a Comcast deal would not be able to pass antitrust measures.
This promises to be a major change for the entertainment industry, which until now has been more or less balanced between a small group of major studios; with this acquisition, Disney will be the clear head honcho. Of course, it has already been dominating in recent years, not only with its own movies but also Marvel Studios’ superhero films and the Star Wars franchise it got from buying Lucasfilm.
Disney is also working on its own streaming service, one of the few media where it is not dominant; with Fox’s properties as well as those it already owns, it could well compete with Netflix, a goal which the Mouse House has reportedly eyed for some time.