Walt Disney (DIS +0.3%) is focused on a full sale of the 22 regional sports networks that it must divest in order to complete its $71B deal for assets of Fox (FOX +0.3%, FOXA +0.3%), CNBC's David Faber says.
That follows a report in the New York Post that the Justice Dept. might allow Disney to spin off the RSNs in order to finish the deal, a move that would show loss of operational control of the nets (and save Disney's bacon from what is increasingly looking like a potential fire sale).
Faber says a straight spin-off is unlikely as there's been no ground given by DOJ on the matter, though he says there's a prospect that Disney could sell 51% with the minority remainder being spun off.
Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBGI +0.2%) is thought to be the only entity that's bid for all the nets as a whole.
With Fox itself dropping out of the bidding, the sales price has likely come down.
The service will be available at no cost to NBCU pay TV subscribers in the U.S. and major international markets, the company says. But others will be able to subscribe at a cost.
Comcast Cable and Sky (OTCPK:SKYAY) will provide the service to their 52M subscribers, NBCU says. And similar to Hulu's multiple tiers, an ad-free version will be available for a fee.
As for NBCU properties on other streamers: "Consistent with the company’s long-standing strategy to distribute its content broadly, NBCUniversal will continue to license content to other studios and platforms, while retaining rights to certain titles for its new service."
The move presages what could be Disney buying Comcast/NBCU out of Hulu, after Disney (DIS -0.3%) takes 60% control of that service by way of its deal for Fox (FOX, FOXA) media assets. Buying out Comcast would give Disney 90% of Hulu, with WarnerMedia (T -0.7%) holding the other 10%.
NBCUniversal (CMCSA +0.7%) is shaking up executives as the company starts clearing decks for the launch of a streaming video service in 2020, Variety reports.
NBCU CEO Steve Burke will end up with fewer direct reports in the new arrangement.
Mark Lazarus is getting an expanded role, going from supervisor of NBC Sports and stations to become chairman of NBCUniversal Broadcast, Cable, Sports and News. NBC Chairman Andy Lack and CNBC CEO Mark Hoffman will report to him.
In the move, he'll take over cable operations previously managed by Bonnie Hammer, who will become chairman of Direct-to-Consumer and Digital Enterprises, and also oversee NBCU stakes in digital media outlets, including Vox, Snap and BuzzFeed.
Jeff Shell also gets more oversight, going from chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment to become chairman of NBCUniversal Film and Entertainment, including oversight of NBC Entertainment, Telemundo, and international operations. Donna Langley will replace him as chairman of the Filmed Entertainment Group.
The major roles held by Lazarus and Shell make them potential successors to Burke, whose contract expires in 2020.
NBCU's plan for a streamed service next year will trail a pair of major competitive launches this year, coming from Disney (DIS -0.1%) and WarnerMedia (T -0.4%).
Iger's total compensation rose to $65.65M from the previous year's $36.3M.
Base salary increased to $2.875M from $2.5M, but the key bump was in stock awards, which rose to $35.35M from 2017's $8.98M. Iger's option awards dipped to $8.27M from $8.3M, and non-equity incentive plan comp rose to $18M from $15.2M.
Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy also saw a healthy pay bump -- up 32%, to $11.84M in total comp, with the gains mostly in stock awards and non-equity incentives.
Among other named execs: General Counsel Alan Braverman's total comp rose to $10.4M from $8.45M; Chief Human Resource Officer M. Jayne Parker's pay rose to $6.8M from $5.09M; Chief Communication Officer Zenia Mucha's pay was $5.1M; and Kevin Mayer (chairman of Direct to Consumer/International) saws total pay rise to $11.6M from $8.4M.
Disney shares were almost flat for calendar 2018 (on an adjusted basis), ending up at $109.65 after starting the year at an adjusted $110.05.
Derica Rice -- executive VP of CVS and president of CVS Caremark -- has been nominated to the Disney (NYSE:DIS) board of directors.
He'll stand for election at the annual meeting on March 7. He joins eight current board members also standing for election.
Three others will be departing due to Disney policies limiting tenure to 15 years and setting retirement age at 74: BlackBerry chief John Chen, Potbelly's Aylwin Lewis and Estee Lauder's Fred Langhammer.
At launch last year, the live TV service avoided a guide entirely, choosing to present live TV mixed in with on-demand and recorded content. It later added a simple guide showing what's on and what's next.
The newer guide allows for further browsing ahead, more similar to traditional pay TV offerings.
The company will still focus on presenting live and on-demand content in the same interface overall.
Hulu is still currently owned by Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), Disney (NYSE:DIS), Fox (FOX, FOXA) and WarnerMedia (NYSE:T).
Walt Disney (DIS +1.3%) has extended expiration on exchange offers and consent solicitations for all notes issued by Twenty-First Century Fox America (FOX +0.5%, FOXA +0.7%), as part of the two companies' major asset deal.
"New Disney" is extending the expiration to Jan. 28 from a previous Jan. 15.
As of the close of business yesterday, a healthy majority of the principal of most series of notes had been validly tendered, Disney notes -- including 83% of the $700M in 6.9% senior notes due 2019; 93% of the $400M in 5.65% senior notes due 2020; and 82% of the $1B in $4.5B senior notes due 2021.
Disney (NYSE:DIS) announces a double-digit price increase at its theme parks in California ahead of the opening of Star Wars attractions this summer that includes a Millennium Falcon ride.
The cost for a one-day Disneyland ticket during peak times rose 10.4% to $149. Disneyland annual passes now range from $399 to the highest level of access costing $1,949.
Higher ticket prices from Disney has sometimes provided cover for Cedar Fair (NYSE:FUN), Six Flags Entertainment (NYSE:SIX) and SeaWorld Entertainment (NYSE:SEAS) to lift prices at some of their parks.
Antitrust regulators in Brazil are expected to approve the media-asset deal between Twenty-First Century Fox (FOX, FOXA) and Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) without pressing for any property sales, Bloomberg reports.
The regulator, CADE, is expecting to see a proposal from the two companies that includes behavioral changes after some back-and-forth meetings in December.
Concerns centered on the sports impact from the combination of ESPN and Fox Sports, according to the report, though CADE is aware that other services compete in sports broadcasting.
A ruling could come as soon as Jan. 30, when regulators come back from year-end recess.
As it did over the regular weekend, Aquaman (T +2%) ruled the New Year's Day box office with a $16.8M take as major U.S. holidays wrapped up the year.
That puts Aquaman over the $200M mark in domestic grosses, and nears $800M for a cumulative global take.
For its part, Mary Poppins Returns (DIS -1.4%) topped $115M in cumulative domestic gross, and Bumblebee (VIA +3.9%, VIAB +3.4%) drew about $7M on New Year's Day to reach a domestic total to date of $78.5M.