The Walt Disney Co. (DIS) may have gotten the nod for its $71 billion offer to purchase Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. (FOX) but that doesn’t mean investors should be pouring back into the stock just yet.
After all, while Disney gets a lot of Fox assets including its film and television studios, Fox’s stake in Sky TV and Hulu, it may still be too early to judge the situation given there are still some uncertainties as to whether or not Disney will continue to go after the rest of Sky and how much it will be able to sell the Fox regional sports network for, reported The Wall Street Journal. (See also: Comcast Drops Bid for Fox, Ceding to Disney.)
Disney, Fox Shareholders Signed Off on Deal
Late last week, Disney and 21st Century Fox shareholders approved the $71.3 billion deal, ending a bidding war in which Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) was forced to bow out. While regulators across the globe still have to sign off on the deal, getting shareholders to back the transaction ends a six-month fight between Disney and Comcast. Both wanted the assets to push back against technology companies such as Netflix Inc. (NFLX), Apple Inc. (AAPL), Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and Alphabet's (GOOG) Google, which have all been going after the streaming content market in a big way. With the deal, Disney gets “Avatar,” the “X-Men” movies, “Titanic” and popular television shows including “This Is Us.” Disney also gets FX and National Geographic, the two cable networks, and a controlling stake in Hulu, which boasts more than 20 million subscribers.
Uncertainties Still Remain
While investors rewarded the win, pushing shares back to where they were prior to the bidding war, the stock could face more pressure depending on Disney’s next move with Sky. According to the WSJ, it's not clear if the media company will continue to go after the rest of Sky, which may prompt another bidding war. Comcast is in the lead with a $34 billion offer, but the paper noted Disney has signaled in the past it doesn’t want to concede to the cable giant. (See also: Disney, Universal See Strong Summer Box-Office.)
In addition to a new battle between the two companies, the WSJ pointed to the potential sale price Disney could fetch for the Fox regional sports network as a risk to the stock. Disney is required to sell the asset as part of the Justice Department’s approval of the deal. Disney has to divest the asset because it competes with its ESPN. Rich Greenfield of BTIG Research told the Journal that if Disney sells in the mid-single-digit billions range than the Fox deal was pricey. As for its digital streaming efforts, the paper said that investors may be spooked by heavy investing on that front. There are also concerns that Disney may not boost the value of Hulu as it has done in the past with entertainment assets it buys. After all, Disney is new to the streaming content distribution business, noted the report.