Disney and Fox are closing in on striking a deal, as signaled by Comcast dropping out of the race. The Hollywood system as we know it is set to change dramatically any day now. The possibility of Disney and Fox pairing up has been widely covered since it was initially revealed that discussions had taken place. Those discussions fell short of making a deal, but the knowledge of Fox actively looking to sell caught the attention of other studios. Sony looked into the acquisition, but never appeared to make significant process.
Instead, it has largely been Comcast - who owns Universal Pictures - that continued to stay with the deal. Disney re-igniting talks with Fox cooled Comcast's chances, but nevertheless they remained persistent. Thanks to more signs of Disney and Fox nearing a deal, Comcast is officially out.
Variety shared a statement from Comcast about their inquiries to obtain Fox. In the following statement, the company acknowledges they are no longer working towards a deal. Comcast states their talks never made enough progress to make an offer, further signaling Disney's grip on a looming deal. Below is Comcast's official statement:
When a set of assets like 21st Century Fox’s becomes available, it’s our responsibility to evaluate if there’s a strategic fit that could benefit our company and our shareholders. That’s what we tried to do and we are no longer engaged in the review of those assets. We never got the level of engagement needed to make a definitive offer. We have a terrific company with a strong portfolio of businesses and will continue to focus on driving growth, innovating, creating great content, and providing excellent experiences for our customers.
Now that Comcast is out of the race, the future of Fox is squarely with Disney it appears. Variety mentions the growing buzz around a deal nearing completion. They reiterate that significant progress is being made and a deal could be formally announced this week. Both studios brought bankers into the picture last week, and later reports said the deal is in the 'fine print' stage. This is not going to be the end of this topic, but it could turn out to be the last update until a deal is officially announced.
There is plenty of concern for the film industry about the potential deal. While fans are mostly focused on the idea of Marvel Studios getting the X-Men and Disney having Avatar all to themselves, this is just a portion of what the deal really will entail. Disney is looking at this deal as a way to bolster their library before launching a streaming service. But, they also would acquire more production houses, TV studios, and more. A deal also removes one of the six major Hollywood studios, which may result in less risks, jobs, and more. Regardless, Fox is the one looking to sell whether or not Disney is the buyer, so why not them? With all signs pointing to a deal, stay tuned for the official announcement when it comes.