The sale of Fox to Disney is nearing the finish line, as a new SEC filing has lifted the lid on what's likely to be the most important and expensive deal in the film industry's history.
According to filings seen by Ars Technica, Fox are pretty keen on Disney rather than Comcast for a number of reasons - the primary one being that a deal with Disney is more likely to make it through regulatory approval than Comcast. In the filing, it states that "a strategic transaction with Comcast would be subject to a greater degree of regulatory uncertainty, including the possibility of an outright prohibition and a higher risk of divestitures and delay to closing, as compared to a strategic transaction with Disney."
Comcast is currently the largest provider of home internet and TV in the US, and part of the Fox sale involves the TV channels FX and National Geographic, 22 regional sports networks, and its 30% share of streaming service Hulu and a 39% stake in Sky here in Ireland and the UK. While Disney does own ABC and ESPN, the degree of scrutiny would be far less than Comcast owing to the fact that Disney's interest more likely skews to the movie end of the business.
Comcast first approached Fox with a deal in November 2017, shortly before a deal was struck with Disney. As it stands, the next stage it has to go through is shareholder approval, and from there it has to pass through the SEC and other regulatory filings before the deal is eventually closed.
When it does happen, it'll mean that a vast swathe of movie franchises will come under the House Of Mouse and radically redraw the lines of the industry in a way that hasn't happened since the dawn of the major studios.