Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) is in the lead to acquire much of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc's (FOXA.O) media empire, though rival suitor Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) remains in contention, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday. "So no there's nothing to add to that, other than the nothing that we've said so far".
He added that the shape of the business that management was aiming for wasre "what' sgoing to create the most value for our shareholders". However, if Deadline is to be believed, negotiations between Disney and Fox have since reopened, and it is expected that the Mouse House is "progressing speedily" towards the acquisition, although any news on the talks will likely only be forthcoming once the ink has dried and the deal is done.
Reuters had reported last month that apart from Disney, both Comcast and Verizon Communications Inc had also expressed interest in acquiring a significant part of Fox's assets.
News of the accelerating nature of deal discussions between Disney and Fox comes after The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that the Murdoch family, which has 39% of voting shares in 21st Century Fox, is planning to make a decision on the asset sale by the end of the year. Disney doesn't sell TV services directly to consumers in the United States chief executive officer Robert Iger has had success acquiring movie studios such as Pixar Animation and Lucasfilm and a Fox deal could give Disney a controlling stake in the Hulu video-streaming service.
Fox shares rose 1.6 percent in midday trade, while Disney tumbled 3 percent.
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