Disney was in talks to buy Fox's movie and TV production studios, cable networks FX and National Geographic and worldwide assets such as the Star network in India and European pay TV provider Sky Plc, CNBC reported last week. Fox owns 39 percent of Sky and wants to buy the rest of it, but it has run into problems with United Kingdom regulators, in part over concerns about the sexual harassment scandals at Fox News. This comes a week after it was reported that Fox and Disney have been in talks for a possible sale.
Murdoch and his sons Lachlan and James, who hold key roles in his media empire, have remained silent on their plans for 21st Century Fox, which includes the Fox Hollywood studios, broadcast, and cable operations Sky, which has a presence in Britain, Ireland, Germany, Austria, and Italy.
Other companies may also want the Fox assets.
The Twentieth Century Fox movie studio reportedly is in play, with no mention of the Blue Sky Studios animation shop based in Greenwich that is readying to release "Ferdinand" in mid-December, its animated feature film treatment of the classic children's storybook.
The talks come amid a huge shakeup in the sector as media giants look to position themselves against the streaming TV juggernaut Netflix and emerging threats from online platforms including Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Apple.
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The major U.S. pay TV providers lost 405,000 net subscribers in the third quarter, while the top two streaming services gained half a million, according to the Leichtman Research Group.
The DOJ's antitrust chief, Makan Delrahim, said at the American Bar Association on Thursday that the agency is not interested in placing "behavioral remedies" on the AT&T-Time Warner deal and is seeking structural solutions to competition issues. There is also speculation that the Murdochs might use the proceeds from selling off big pieces of 21st Century Fox to take an enlarged News Corp. private.
The News Corp name was retained for the company that operates newspapers including The Wall Street Journal and titles in Australia and Britain.