How the Disney-Fox megadeal could impact the news media

Disney's $52.4 billion holiday shopping spree puts 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets under Mickey Mouse's Christmas tree but leaves the Fox broadcast network, Fox News and Fox Business with Rupert Murdoch.  “This merger seems to be explicitly not about the news businesses,” said Ben Gomes-Casseres, a former World Bank economist who specializes in mergers and acquisitions at the Brandeis International Business School. Ah, but what about side effects? What might Murdoch do with his pared-down company? And will Disney, with all its new toys, devote sufficient attention to ABC News? “What Murdoch would do with Fox News is not clear yet, and we don't know if he would be scaling it up or down,” Gomes-Casseres said. “Whether ABC News will be affected in this way, as a side effect, is also anyone's guess, but there is no doubt that ABC as a TV channel will decrease in importance in the Disney group. . . . I would not look to the Disney-Fox merger to bolster the fourth estate.” In a background development, the Federal Communications Commission is mulling a possible rule change that would raise or even eliminate a cap on TV station ownership by a single company. Among the assets Murdoch would keep, if the deal with Disney is approved by federal regulators, are 28 local stations. He could potentially grow that number much larger.


How the Disney-Fox megadeal could impact the news media