December 14, 2017 Last Updated 1:33 pm

21st Century Fox to spin off Fox Broadcasting network, stations before Disney acquisition

Morning Brief: The Fox Broadcasting stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2 and Big Ten Network will be spun off into a new company, while Disney deal should allow Fox to complete its planned acquisition of the 61 percent of Sky it doesn’t already own

This year will be remembered in the media business as the big year of sell-outs, with the largest deal coming at the end, the sale of 21st Century Fox to Disney for $52.4 billion in stock. The old codger has likely gotten the best of Disney’s chief executive, Robert A. Iger, in this deal, with Disney buying the assets that are high risk compared to the broadcast side. (See full announcement here.)

As Rupert Murdoch had long ago spin off his print assets, the deal will in no way effect News Corp, with its newspapers, book publishing and digital real estate businesses.

The deal is big news in Hollywood, where one of the iconic brands is once again changing hands. 20th Century Fox was founded in 1935 when Joseph Schenck and Darryl F. Zanuck left United Artists, which itself was a pioneering film studio. The founders merged with Fox Film which was a theater chain and film studio, but had lost its biggest star with Will Rogers died in a plane crash. Things went downhill in the ’60s and Fox ended up being sold for around $700 million in 1981 to investors Marc Rich and Marvin Davis. Rich became a fugitive from tax evasion charges three years later, and Davis bought out his partner, then sold to Murdoch for $250 million. Murdoch added the Metromedia television stations to create the basis for his film and broadcast company.

The deal with Disney may smooth the way for Sky to be acquired by 21st Century Fox while regulators clear the Disney deal. Still, as with other mega deals, one has to give Disney less than a 50-50 chance that this will prove worth the investment. Update: Disney has said that if regulators reject Murdoch’s effort to acquire 100 percent of Sky it will settle for the 39 percent stake Fox currently owns.

Deadline, Dawn C. Chmielewski, Mike Fleming Jr and Nellie Andreeva:

Disney Sets Deal To Acquire Most Of Fox, A Game-Changing Deal That Will Redraw Hollywood Landscape

The Walt Disney Co. announced its acquisition of a major portion of 21st Century Fox in a deal that dramatically remakes the entertainment landscape and positions the media giant for the future.

The deal, officially valued at $66.1 billion including assumption of debt, will create an entertainment colossus that expands Disney’s footprint in every area. The agreement encompasses Fox’s prolific film and television studios, its FX and National Geographic cable networks, Fox’s regional sports networks, its 39% stake in U.K. satellite television provider Sky and its international cable networks, including Star India. It also includes one of the most coveted film libraries in the game — something that will be important as Disney pursues its ambitions to become a streaming media giant that challenges Netflix and forges direct relationships with consumers.

The Guardian, Mark Sweney:

Rupert Murdoch reshapes media empire with $66bn Disney deal

The transaction also marks a pivotal moment for the Murdoch dynasty with the departure from the business of James, who is also chairman of Sky. The move paves the way for his elder brother, 46-year-old Lachlan to inherit executive control of the Murdoch empire. Lachlan is co-chairman of 21st Century Fox and News Corp, the separately listed business that owns the Murdoch newspaper assets including The Times, The Sun and the New York Post.

The deal will not, for now, impact the proposed takeover by 21st Century Fox of the 61% of Sky it does not own. The Competition and Markets Authority will continue to investigate the deal as a Murdoch-brokered takeover, pending Fox’s Sky stake officially changing hands.

“While 21st Century Fox’s existing plans to acquire Sky remain in place, we expect the current investigation to continue,” said a spokesman for the department of digital, culture, media and sport.

Disney and Fox said that they expect the £11.7bn deal to buy the remaining 61% in Sky will be cleared and completed by June next year.

Republicans were breathing a little easier after the votes were counted in Alabama. They certainly were not thrilled that they had lost a seat in the Senate to the Democrats, but were happy they did not have to deal with Roy Moore there.

This morning, Republicans are even happier, as Moore has gone off the rails.

The Washington Post, Kyle Swenson:

Roy Moore turns refusal to concede into religious crusade: ‘Immorality sweeps over the land’

A day after losing the Senate race in Alabama to Democrat Doug Jones, Roy Moore has issued a new statement refusing to concede the election until completion of the final count. But it wasn’t your typical post-election statement.

It was a four-minute fire-and-brimstone video about abortion, same-sex marriage, school prayer, sodomy and “the right of a man to claim to be a woman and vice versa.”

“We are indeed in a struggle to preserve our republic, our civilization and our religion and to set free a suffering humanity,” Moore said. “Today, we no longer recognize the universal truth that God is the author of our life and liberty. Abortion, sodomy and materialism have taken the place of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

This website has been publishing since late 2009, officially opening its doors on January 4, 2010. At first it was just a blog, writing about not only publishing in general but Apple’s plans for tablets. After a couple of years a decision had to be made about continuing it or shuttering it and moving on. In mid-2013 the site evolved into the news site you see today.

The biggest change was a move to WordPress and self-hosting. It was that move that led Google to finally approve TNM for Google News. It made an immediate impact as traffic doubled.

Over the seven to eight years of publishing other things were tried to improve traffic including creating an app, social media use, and joining Apple News.

If there is one constant it is that every effort to work with Apple has started out good and then ended up failing. Apple News is just the latest disappointment.

The problem with Apple for publishers is, I think, caused by three factors. First, Apple loses interest quickly in anything that does not drive billions in sales. The Newsstand was, for a short time, a winner, driving digital subscriptions for many newspapers and magazines. Its weakness was the subscription system itself which encouraged first short-term subs and then encouraged users to cancel them. The second problem is that Apple does not understand advertising and so never moved to make sure publishers could monetize their apps or other products. Apple does things their way and expect everyone else to play along. Finally, Apple never has hired qualified, experienced publishing people into the company to interface with publishers. Everything is sly, secretive and ultimately underhanded. Publishers have learned not to trust Apple and Apple seems perfectly fine with this.

TNM joined Apple News early on and at times the traffic has been spectacular. Regular traffic grew as readers added TNM to their Favorites, and when Apple’s team promoted a story thousands would respond. But Apple has made changes to Apple News that make them the publisher and their publishing partners merely content providers. As a result, traffic has dropped to unacceptable levels.

After this week TNM will stop feeding content into Apple News as a result.

If you disagree with this decision let me know by using the Contract TNM page.

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