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Fox in the Mouse House could give Disney an edge in streaming wars

Fox in the Mouse House could give Disney an edge in streaming wars
November 8, 2017

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - If Walt Disney Co buys some Twenty-First Century Fox  businesses, it could provide a quick path for the traditional media giant to create a substantial competitor to Netflix Inc in the battle for TV and movie viewers.

The two companies reportedly held talks in recent weeks about a potential sale of Fox’s FX and National Geographic channels, its movie studio and some other international assets to Disney, according to media reports. The discussions had stopped as of Monday but could restart, the reports said.

Television viewers have been rapidly embracing online services like Netflix over traditional pay TV packages, a shift that is enticing deep-pocketed technology companies like Inc and Facebook Inc into video offerings.

Investors who have driven Netflix shares to record highs this year were selling on Tuesday, sending the company’s stock down more than 2 percent. Disney and Fox shares rose roughly 1 percent each as analysts said a deal between the two media giants could benefit Disney’s planned streaming push.

“It could be very formidable,” said Bruce Tuchman, a media investor, entrepreneur and adviser to streaming services like iflix. “They wouldn’t have to leave the confines of their own company to build a competitive service.”