LOS ANGELES — 21st Century Fox shares jumped by as much as 8.5% on Monday afternoon after a report that the company had recently been in talks to sell most of its assets to Disney.
The deal that was under discussion, as reported by CNBC, would have seen Fox selling its movie studio, television production unit and entertainment networks to Disney. Fox would have kept its news and sports holdings and would restructure around those assets. It would also have kept its broadcast network and the local broadcast stations it owns.
Several reports said the talks were no longer active. CNBC said that while the “two sides are not currently talking at this very moment,” the talks “could be revisited.”
21st Century Fox declined to comment. A Disney spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
By selling its entertainment assets to Disney, Fox would free itself from having to compete with larger-scale media conglomerates like Disney and Comcast. Instead, it could refocus its business around a core group of news and sports assets like Fox News and Fox Sports 1.
Meanwhile, Disney would get control of major entertainment brands — 20th Century Fox Studios, Fox Television, FX and National Geographic, as well as international brands like Star and Sky — as it gears up to launch a Netflix-style streaming service next year.
Disney announced earlier this year that it would launch its own direct-to-consumer streaming services next year, putting the company head-to-head with Netflix. In that regard, Fox’s entertainment assets could be a major boon to Disney, not just because of what control of those assets would give Disney, but because of what it could take away from Netflix.