Hulu is one of the crown jewels here. Because of the way the contracts are structured, whoever buys Fox, gets total control of Hulu. There were some court orders that recently expired on Hulu which is part of the behind the scenes reason this war is going on now.
The breakup fee is a lot of cash here - Disney had made a similar guaranteed (2.5 billion), but Fox itself will be on the hook for 1.52 billion if they break off for Disney in favor of Comcast.
There's been a lot of speculation that part of the deal with Fox was that James Murdoch would eventually be the heir apparent to Bob Iger. That speculation faded a bit, but still something to keep a eye on.
What what happens with Hulu and with the Murdoch controlling interest in Fox. It may take a shareholder revolt to go with Fox over Disney.
I don't see this deal as a must-win for Disney. They have the possibility to go over the top with their new Disney streaming service, and they have all the content in the world right now. Disney lawyers will probably find some event to use to justify yanking the Marvel rights from Comcast if this deal goes through.
Maybe for Comcast, but I doubt it is for Disney. Disney already purchased BAMTech which handles streaming for MLB, HBO, ESPN, League Of Legends, and many others. They have been working towards using that technology for a Disney streaming service that will debut sometime in 2019. That company is already closing in on Hulu in terms of value and would make integrating Hulu's tech and employees difficult. The only real value Hulu gives Disney is contracts for content, but those contract are only temporary and good content is still the core competency of Disney. It wouldn't surprise me if Disney proposed the original deal with the expectation that they would need to sell off Hulu to a competitor in order to get the political capital for approval for the rest of the deal.
I’ve heard that last year Disney blocked an attempt from Apple to buy Hulu, which suggests that it is still pretty important to them
If either Disney or Comcast buys Fox will become 60% owner, however being a 30% owner is likely enough power to have enough influence to block a sale to Apple..
Probably not that hard; licensing deals very often have change of ownership clauses exactly to prevent someone purchasing the licenses to get the license without the licensor having a say.
I don't think the contract has an expiration date either... Marvel wasn't doing too good back in the day you could say.
So, there is not only a master contract in place. there are subcontracts for every single character and IP that is in Orlando, with different scopes associated with each. One of the reasons Disney went so heavily with Guardians of the Galaxy, is because they believed that Orlando could use these characters, as they were new characters. Disney also thought they could get away with doing some advertisements on the monorails. Universal objected, in court.
At this point, Disney is looking to figure out what they can and can not do. The fact that they are going to be building a guardians coaster at Epcot means they think they are fairly sure of that particular thing, no matter what universal (comcast) may threaten them with.
On the other hand, the rumored Wakanda stuff makes everything much more dicey.
I'm told that Disney was very comfortable that they had the ability to get all of the rights when they bought marvel. I'm told that they are much less sure of that now.
My guess is that Fox may eventually get sold for pieces. Disney's 30% stake of hulu, plus the marvel rights and Avatar are just too important for Disney not utilize their most powerful death start - their lobbyists.
Which is what I meant by my upthread comment. I don't expect or wish superhero movies to go extinct. I'm sure they won't as they have antecedents that are literally ancient. (Greek, at least, mythology.) I just wish there wan't such a glut of them and that they didn't tend to incorporate so many of the annoying features of typical modern action movies.
Just as worrisome is the merging of delivery/distribution ( ISPs ) with content.
> You can mark this as another major event in the consolation and monopolization of news and entertainment under a rapidly growing singular corporate umbrella.
Not just news and entertainment ( and ISPs ). The past decade has seen tremendous consolidation in banking, pharma, agriculture/seed, food and even the tech industry. It's funny how a decade after "too big to fail" banks and promises to break up banks to prevent systematic issues in the future, those banks are much bigger today. They pose an even greater systematic problem.
We know with monopolistic industry, it only leads to corruption and then price fixing as there is no room to expand. When it's a handful of companies control an entire market, then the next logic step is price fixing because there is no more room to maneuver. Look at the lysine price fixing scandal of the 90s.
It is strange how both political parties are so supportive of the monopolization of the nation. All the while saying they are for competition, diversity and workers.
As more and more wealth and power is concentrated on fewer and fewer companies/institutions, politicians will be even more beholden to the interests of the wealthy.
"As part of the Disney-Fox merger, 21st Century Fox will spin off Fox News, Fox Business, and the Fox broadcasting network into a new, separately traded company...
The new company under which Fox News will operate has yet to be named, but it will be a lot leaner, which may ultimately work in the network’s favor. Right now, it’s just being referred to as New Fox. (The company will also include FS1, FS2, and Fox Television Stations Group, Big Ten Network.)"
I'm guessing Fox News is worth the other $15 billion to the Murdochs.
You may need a Comcast connection and an AT&T connection to get content from both.
According to Statista these are the rankings† of US media companies by revenue in 2017 (in € billion)
50.26 The Walt Disney Company
32.94 AT&T Entertainment Group
31.18 News Corp. Ltd. / 21st Century Fox
26.49 Time Warner Inc.
23.18 Viacom Inc. / CBS Corp.
You'll notice that I left out internet media companies like Alphabet, social media companies like Facebook, telecommunication companies like Charter Comm., and tech giants like Amazon.com and Apple. I did this to purely focus on conglomerates with significant traditional media holdings.
Given that these six companies allegedly controlled 90% of the media landscape‡ in 2012 it is worrying that either Comcast or Disney would be allowed to swallow Fox. (I am unsure what the percentage figure is now.)
I think it is especially worrying that content creation and media distribution is allowed in the same company. I guess we have AOL Time Warner to thank for that precedent?
Finally, it is unclear to me how separate News Corp is from 21st Century Fox. Wikipedia says, “On 28 June 2012, after concerns from shareholders in response to its recent scandals and to "unlock even greater long-term shareholder value", founder Rupert Murdoch announced that News Corporation's assets would be split into two publicly traded companies, one oriented towards media, and the other towards publishing. The corporate spin-off formally took place on 28 June 2013; where the present News Corp. was renamed 21st Century Fox and consists primarily of media outlets, while a new News Corp was formed to take on the publishing and Australian broadcasting assets.”
This would suggest that the revenues of 21st Century Fox are a lot less than the combined revenues of News Corp. Ltd. / 21st Century Fox combined.
Anti-Trust law has never figured out how to handle vertical monopolies. Before AOL Time Warner were RCA, Westinghouse, Sony, etc.
It's the more common precedent that if you make a thing, it's not illegal to sell the thing you made.
Edit: if you’re talking just about owning exclusive content I would say Disney is above Netflix or Amazon.
> "we are pleased to present a new, all-cash proposal that fully addresses the Board’s stated concerns with our prior proposal."
Anyone know why else the Comcast's offer last year was rejected? The article hints at cash vs stock as possibly being another reason.
After of the approval AT&T got to buy TW yesterday, Fox shares jumped 7%.
It's hard to imagine any organization that can stand up to such concentrated wealth and power now.
It's scary, but hey, this is America.
Comcast and Fox do different things.
Time Warner is a content owner/producer/broadcast networks/etc. primarily. AT&T is mostly a telecom company.
You can usually get away with extraordinarily large mergers under US anti-trust law, so long as you're not overly concentrating the ownership of a given market. AT&T wouldn't be allowed to buy Verizon or T-Mobile for example.
If Apple wants to buy Fox they'd likely be allowed to. If Apple wanted to buy Google, they'd likely be blocked. Microsoft could buy John Deere or 3M or GM, they couldn't buy Amazon or Facebook (disregarding market caps for a moment).
Apple makes almost all of their money from things that Google doesn't make much money from - if you spun off all of Google's distant second fiddles off, along with Apple's software wanderings, you'd end up with a central core of AdWords and the iPhone. They don't compete.
Adwords unto itself isn't what would cause the problem. The principle delivery mechanism for Adwords is: search and Android.
Stopping something by arguing that an anti-consumer action may be taken by a company at some point in the future, is difficult. The more abstract, multi-step, loose, or distant the premise is, the less likely you're going to sway a judge.
Over consolidation of a specific market is thought of as a sort of obvious, first level concept of risk of consumer harm. The potential that you're describing would be a second or third level concept: do this, then do that, maybe this happens.
Culturally and legally, narrow market consolidation is an established concern. It's widely believed that that has a strong, proven foundation of evidence which links over concentration of market share to negative harm to consumers.
The FCC also has immense power to regulate that market. Frequently judges will leave such discretion to the appropriate Federal agencies, for better or worse. While this FCC and Congress may not do anything about it, the next one might (it's guaranteed the Democrats will pursue net neutrality when they regain a majority position and the Presidency again).
On its own may be not, but together with their de facto ISP monopolization it should be a very major consideration.
> Stopping something by arguing that an anti-consumer action may be taken by a company at some point in the future, is difficult.
It's not an abstract concern, because current day monopolistic ISPs are already doing it (zero rating). So there is no need to theorize, it's happening now.
With corrupt FCC now removing any last protections of net neutrality, we absolutely should expect these monopolists to make it even worse than it is now, and such media purchases amplify it many fold. So this judge's decision is bizarre and demonstrates how messed up and toothless current anti-trust regulation is.
Interesting that you say that, because there was a period of time where AT&T nearly merged with T-Mobile. Now T-Mobile and Sprint are merging.
I hope this will be appealed, and this monstrosity prevented. And someone should also split Comcast, i.e. separate their ISP business from the media one.