Update June 20, 2018:
Disney just upped its bid for 21st Century Fox assets to $71.3 billion in an effort to fend-off Comcast. In a statement, per CNBC, Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch said: “We are extremely proud of the businesses we have built at 21st Century Fox, and firmly believe that this combination with Disney will unlock even more value for shareholders as the new Disney continues to set the pace at a dynamic time for our industry.”
As you probably heard, the Walt Disney Company is sprinkling $52 billion worth of pixie dust on 21st Century Fox in an acquisition that will include the company’s film and TV studios, cable entertainment networks, and overseas TV businesses. The all-stock transaction was announced today and, as part of the deal, Disney chief Bob Iger will stay on through 2021.
While regular viewers of Fox News may shudder at the idea of the right-leaning network’s leadership having to answer to noted Democrat Iger for the next four years, fear not. Fox News is not going to be part of Disney. As part of the Disney-Fox merger, 21st Century Fox will spin off Fox News, Fox Business, and the Fox broadcasting network into a new, separately traded company. It’s interesting because Fox News is the crown jewel of 21CF’s cable business—it’s the most-watched news network on cable and drives healthy results for its parent company—but Disney, which already owns ABC, is not interested in beefing up its news operation with this deal. It’s all about entertainment content, sports, and greater distribution power.
The new company under which Fox News will operate has yet to be named, but it will be a lot leaner, which may ultimately work in the network’s favor. Right now, it’s just being referred to as New Fox. (The company will also include FS1, FS2, and Fox Television Stations Group, Big Ten Network.)
This is the second major corporate reshuffling to affect Fox News in recent years. In 2013, it was spun out of News Corp along with the other entities that would become 21st Century Fox.