Disney Wants to Buy Fox's Regional Sports Networks

Will Bob Iger Hand a Murdoch the Keys to the Disney Empire?

Fox Chief Executive James Murdoch, speaking at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in NY on Tuesday, declined to comment on reports about a potential sale.

Fox Sports Ohio forwarded an inquiry from cleveland.com for comment to 21st Century Fox, which declined. As the deal stands, Disney would acquire Fox's entertainment assets, including Star TV networks, its movie studios, stakes in Hulu and Sky, and its regional sports operation. According to the LA Times, Disney's board would extend Iger's contract to help the company navigate the significant regulatory hurdles needed to finalize any Fox buyout deal, and to oversee integration of Fox properties within Disney.

"It's always good to look at what's going to create the most value for our shareholders", he told attendees.

Following reports that Disney could acquire 21st Century Fox in a deal that could be announced soon, Marvel fans are already thinking ahead.

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If the deal comes off, Rupert Murdoch and his other son Lachlan would be left with a rump of Fox including its broadcast network that airs Fox News and Fox Sports.

Fox shares were up 0.57 per cent in late afternoon trading, while Disney was down 2.45 per cent. Comcast shares were down 1.56 per cent.

Investment analyst Eric Jackson said the deal for Fox's RSNs amounts to Disney-owned ESPN doubling down on sports rights, which it can use to beef up the live sports offerings within its ESPN+ streaming service launching in 2018.

Following the WSJ report on Wednesday that the two companies were closing in on a deal, the Financial Times reported James Murdoch was "suggested" as a possible replacement for Iger in 2019.

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