The fairy tale reign of Bob Iger continues at Walt Disney Company with the news that 21st Century Fox is looking to unload a number of major properties to their rival in what would be one of the biggest media sales in history.
CNBC reports that discussions have been on-ad-off for the past few weeks between the two companies, but say multiple sources close to the situation have revealed the talks could pick back up at any moment.
The deal is said to appeal to 21st Century Fox as they look to streamline their operation and focus on selected television properties including Fox News, Fox Sports and all local news affiliates in addition to their broadcast network.
This also comes as Rupert Murdoch, 86, looks to hand the company over to his sons Lachlan and James after a tumultuous year that saw Fox News part ways with its creator Roger Ailes and biggest star Bill O’Reilly following multiple reports of sexual harassment or assault from staffers.
It is not known if Murdoch, who is currently the Executive Co-Chairman at 21st Century Fox, would maintain a role inside the company or if he would take some time off to celebrate being newly wed for the third time to supermodel wife Jerry Hall.
C u real soon: Disney (Chairman Bob Iger left) may soon acquire multiple properties from 21st Century Fox (Chairman Rupert Murdoch left) including their film studio and channels such as FX and National Geographic
Power players: Multiple sources claim the rival media companies have been in discussions for weeks, though talks are not currently taking place (Murdoch and Iger above in 2009 at Allen & Co.)
Disney would not be able to acquire the broadcast channel or Fox Sports even if they were up for sale since the company already owns a broadcast channel (ABC) and sports network (ESPN).
The company would obtain 21st Century’s film studio and television channels including FX, FXX, National Geographic along with international stations such as Star and Sky.
It is unclear what the price of the sale would be, though as Iger has proven many times in his decade-long tenure, he is not afraid to cut a multibillion dollar check for he deems a good investment.
Under his resign Disney acquired Pixar for $7.4 billion in 2006; Marvel for $4 billion in 2009, Lucasfilm Ltd for $4 million in 2013 and even managed to regain the rights to the very first character ever illustrated by the company’s namesake founder.
Oswald the Lucky Rabbit came home to Disney after Iger agreed to turnover a legendary character of its own by releasing Al Michaels form his ABC Sports contract so he could move to NBC.
Disney has already managed to recoup their investment on all those sales.
Iger’s success will soon be coming to an end however as the longtime executive and current Chairman of the Board announced last month he would be stepping down in 2019 after twice extending his contract with the company.
The search for an heir apparent has proved problematic in the past however, so there is always a chance the 66-year-old media magnate might stay on at the company in some position.
Not to be outdone, 21st Century Fox also shelled out some big bucks recently, settling a sexual harassment lawsuit with Gretchen Carlson for $20 milllion and riding disgraced Fox News figureheads Ailes and O’Reilly with severance packages valued at $42 million and $25 million respectively after the men were fired from the company.