21st Century Fox in talks with Disney to sell assets including Star India

MUMBAI: Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox has been in talks with The Walt Disney Company to sell most of the assets including FX, National Geographic, movie studio, TV production and international assets such as Star and Sky, CNBC has reported.

Disney will not buy Fox broadcast network as it cannot own two broadcast networks. Buying Fox’s sports programming assets and combining them with ESPN will be perceived as anti-competitive from an antitrust standpoint.

Quoting unnamed sources, the report said 21st Century Fox will be left with just news and sports if the talks reach its logical conclusion. The two parties have been in talks for the last few weeks however they have come to a halt, for the time being, the report added.

The two sides are not currently talking at this very moment, but given the on again, off again nature of the talks, they could be revisited, the CNBC report stated.

The talks indicate the challenges faced by traditional media companies in competing with new-age tech media companies like Alphabet, Facebook, Amazon, and Netflix.

The deal will have major repercussions for the Indian market as 21st Century Fox’s Star India is a market leader. Disney’s India business is very small comparatively.

Star India develops, produces and broadcasts 69 channels in SD and HD in eight languages across entertainment, sports, and regional genres. It also owns video on demand (VoD) service Hotstar and a movie production and distribution business Fox Star Studios.

Disney India, on the other hand, has interests in TV broadcasting with eight TV channels across kids, Hindi movie, and youth genres, movie production/distribution, gaming and licensing & merchandising.

The combination of Disney and Star’s assets in India will create a TV broadcasting giant with a significant presence in movie production and OTT space.