Walt Disney Co is in the lead to acquire much of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc's media empire, though rival suitor Comcast Corp remains in contention, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
The FT has also reported that Fox chief executive and Sky chairman James Murdoch is being considered as a successor to Disney chief executive Bob Iger should an agreement be reached between the two companies. The deal will leave Fox with only its broadcast network, Fox Sports, and news and business divisions.
According to a report in the Financial Times, James Murdoch is likely to take a senior executive role with Disney because of his knowledge of the Fox assets and the global TV market.
Off the bat, Disney would gain the complete catalog of Star Wars live action films that Fox now owns, including the rights to the original soundtracks of those films. Shares of Comcast fell 1.2 per cent.
The deal would add to Disney's portfolio of move franchises and production bandwidth as it prepares to yank its content form Netflix and launch its own streaming service.
Shares in Disney (DIS) closed down $3 or 2.7 percent, to $107.22 on the New York Stock Exchange.
In September the media secretary, Karen Bradley, asked the regulator to examine whether Murdoch had a genuine commitment to broadcasting standards following concerns about the running of his U.S. Fox News network.