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Media M&A: Disney Trying to Double Down?

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Disney has been under pressure as income from its TV and Media Networks division flags in the face of competition from streaming TV, and maybe it is not a surprise that the company held talks with 20th Century Fox to buy its film and TV assets. Third quarter revenues saw a 23% decline in operating income in its cable TV business due to the “cord cutting” trend in the US, with performance at ESPN especially disappointing, and Disney’s shares have fallen from $115 in April to $100 now. The Media Network segment now makes up 45% of Disney’s operating income, down from well over 50% in 2014 and 2015, and a purchase of Fox’s cable TV channels would have helped Disney bulk up their content as they develop streaming services. But talks have stopped and there is no shortage of buyers, including Amazon, if Murdoch does eventually decide to sell. Media M&A could get hot next year.

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