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. Comcast owns NBCUniversal, and it is not permitted for one company to own and operate two broadcast television networks.
Fox and Disney were not immediately available to comment.
On the table are the Fox cable networks, including FX and National Geographic; the Fox TV and film studio; and international assets such as a significant stake in Sky, ownership of India's Star TV, and the Fox Networks Group channels around the world.
Fox anticipates that its deal to buy the remaining 61 percent stake of Sky, which has been held up by regulators, will be approved in the first half of 2018.
Reuters reported in November that Comcast, which is the largest U.S. cable provider and has a market value of around $188 billion, had expressed interest in Fox assets.
Fox's stake in Hulu is also being discussed as a potential asset for sale. Under the deal, current Fox shareholders would retain their shares in the slimmed-down company as well as new Disney stock in a fixed exchange ration.