Disney close to deal to buy Fox assets

Disney close to deal to buy Fox assets”

The deal between Walt Disney and 21st Century Fox may be closer to reality than we thought.

Asked at UBS's Annual Global Media and Communications Conference in New York City to comment about the "elephant in the room" - reports of an imminent sale - Murdoch demurred.

"It would be wrong to comment on market speculation", said Murdoch, citing company policy, so there's nothing to add to that".

CNBC had reported earlier on Tuesday that a deal for Disney to buy Fox's movie studio and television production assets for more than $60 billion could come as early as next week. Disney doesn't sell TV services directly to consumers in the U.S. chief executive officer Robert Iger has had success acquiring movie studios such as Pixar Animation and Lucasfilm and a Fox deal could give Disney a controlling stake in the Hulu video-streaming service.

The Murdoch family, which controls Fox, prefers a deal with Disney because it would rather be paid in Disney than Comcast stock, and expects a potential deal with Disney to be cleared by USA antitrust regulators more easily, one of the sources said. Fox would easily be Disney's biggest acquisition under Iger, and from a business standpoint, could help jumpstart Disney's stock, which has stagnated for the last three years over fears of ESPN's decline and the lack of a clear over-the-top distribution strategy.

The newly resurgent Sony also is interested in the Fox assets, positioning itself as the safe path from a regulatory perspective, according to sources.

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