Major League Baseball won’t get a shot at controlling the nation’s regional sports TV networks, after all. MLB has resigned itself to becoming a minority investor — as Disney wraps up its auction of the 21 RSNs — giving up on a dream to become the operator of a nationwide chain of sports-focused TV channels.
Disney is still considering spinning out its RSNs to shareholders as it prepares to move forward and take final bids for the 21 sports networks on Monday.
Shares in The Walt Disney Co. hit $129.85 at the opening bell Friday, up 13%, following Thursday’s news of details on its new streaming service Disney Plus.
Among them: How it will fit in the larger Disney digital offerings, and how much it will be able to disrupt the streaming business generally.
Disney’s new streaming service, Disney+, will test Marvel’s power, the reach of the Star Wars galaxy and the magic of animated classics spanning more than 80 years, coupled with the new-found bulk provided by its acquisition of Fox Entertainment assets.
Two female employees sued Walt Disney Co. on Tuesday, alleging the company is violating the state’s equal pay act and paying women less than men doing similar work. The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Tuesday. Disney said the suit was without merit.
On the heels of its acquisition of 21st Century Fox, The Walt Disney Co. just announced it will hold its first combined upfront event featuring their combined networks: ABC, ESPN, Freeform, FX Networks and National Geographic Networks. The event will be held May 14 in New York City.
The other shoe has dropped: Fox began the process of laying off about 4,000 employees on Thursday, one day after the film and TV studio finalized its multibillion-dollar sale to Disney, according to a studio executive. Senior-level staff will likely be the first impacted by the cuts, the executive said. Fox human resources began calling employees at the senior vice president, executive vice president and presidential level to deliver the news on Thursday.
Now that the Walt Disney Company’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox is complete, Fox Entertainment — a unit of the newly formed, non-Disneyfied Fox Corp. — marked its “new chapter” with a one-time promotional video. Aired Wednesday at 8:32 p.m. ET, the 90-second trailer featured some of Fox’s most prominent television properties, past and present.
The ripple effects may not become clear for years. Analysts say that Disney could force smaller studios to merge as they scramble to compete. It will have greater leverage over theater owners when it comes to box office splits. And Disney’s plans to use Fox content to forcefully move into streaming could slow the growth of Netflix. “This deal definitely reshapes the landscape,” said Michael Nathanson, a leading media analyst.