Talking New Media

Sale of most of 21st Century Fox could be what actually scuttles Sky-Murdoch deal

Reports are that Disney is back in the picture, interested in parts of Murdoch’s film and broadcast company, (though not Fox News), while Comcast also remains a potential buyer

The best thing about watching television abroad is the absence of Fox News, something that could be guaranteed to continue should either Disney or Comcast close a deal with Rupert Murdoch to buy parts of his broadcast and film empire.

Disney has been reported to be back talking to Fox about acquiring a big chuck of the company, while Comcast has been a consistent suitor. While Fox News itself is likely to stay with the Murdochs, the company’s 39 percent stake in satellite broadcaster Sky looks to be on the table.

Murdoch has an agreement to takeover the British company, but regulators are balking, and the more time that goes on the more the deal looks like it might be scuttled. Sky says it might close its Sky News network if a deal is not completed, but if Comcast or Disney ends up a partial owner they might not want to do that. It is also possible Disney or Comcast would want to take over the satellite broadcaster, replacing the old Australian as full owner.

The New York Times wondered this weekend what regulators might say about Comcast or Disney buying out parts of Murdoch’s company but that is a strange question to ask seeing as media merger rules are being pretty much thrown out under the Trump administration.

Of course, none of this will be of concern to News Corp., the print side of the Murdoch media empire, which was spun off a few years back. The side of the business includes both newspapers and book publishing, but it is the digital real estate business which has shown the best growth in the past few years as traditional publishing has struggled.