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John Malone says Disney-Fox deal makes sense and benefits both sides


John Malone, Liberty Media

Scott Eells | Bloomberg | Getty Images

John Malone, Liberty Media

On the side of Bob Iger’s Disney, Malone said the company would get global reach and be able to accelerate its plans to launch a direct-to-consumer streaming product.

“If I was Bob I would be looking at [buying 21st Century Fox] because the crown jewel for the moment at the U.S. would be Hulu. If he can get approved control of Hulu, it gives him a jumpstart on a direct consumer entertainment product,” Malone said.

Disney and 21st Century Fox are already investors in Hulu, an on-demand subscription video platform primarily for television shows.

Disney said in August it plans to remove all its movies from Netflix and launch a branded direct-to-consumer streaming service in 2019.

A deal with Fox would also give Disney access to the European market through Fox’s Sky brand, and the Asian market through Star, Malone pointed out.

21st Century Fox has been holding talks to sell most of the company to Disney, leaving only an entity focused on news and sports, CNBC reported last week, citing sources familiar with the situation.

Malone is widely respected as one of the most astute deal makers in the media and cable industries. He built and ran his cable empire TCI from the 1970s and sold it to AT&T in 1999 for roughly $50 billion. The investor has a net worth of nearly $8 billion, according to Forbes.

Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal is an investor in Hulu.

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