Disney’s multi-billion dollar deal to purchase a major portion of 21st Century Fox was met with congratulations from the president, after reassurance that Fox News wasn’t part of the deal.
The White House confirmed that President Donald Trump talked to 21st Century Fox executive chairman Rupert Murdoch about the deal.
“I know that the president spoke with Rupert Murdoch earlier today, congratulated him on the deal,” press secretary Sarah Sanders said Thursday at a press briefing. “And (he) thinks that, to use one of the president’s favorite words, this could be a great thing for jobs, and certainly looks forward to and hoping to see a lot more of those created.”
The $52.4 billion deal shakes up the media landscape with Disney taking over assets including Fox’s movie studios, Hulu, FX and Nat Geo. Portions of Fox’s television properties, including Fox News and Fox Business Network, were not part of the sale.
According to Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman, Trump spoke with Murdoch before the deal “to make sure Murdoch wasn’t selling Fox News.”
Trump spoke with Murdoch ahead of Disney deal to make sure Murdoch wasn’t selling Fox News, person briefed on the call said
— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) December 14, 2017
White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah did not directly comment on that phone call when asked by CNN about the report.
“The White House is not involved with pending mergers. I’d refer you to the agencies with jurisdiction,” he said.
Another source, who said Trump and Murdoch speak regularly, told the network that “when you’re about to announce a big transaction it’s fairly standard to put in a courtesy call to the White House.”
The 86-year-old Murdoch apparently assured the president that Fox News, which is home to what seems to be one of Trump’s favorite news shows – “Fox and Friends” – would not be affected by the deal, according to Vanity Fair.
Thank you @foxandfriends. Really great job and show!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 27, 2017
While Disney expects to save $2 billion as a result of the deal, according to Axios, analysts note that mergers usually mean layoffs.
“There will be thousands of jobs lost,” Rich Greenfield, a BTIG analyst, told CNN. “It is hard to see how any meaningful job creation will come out of this.”
Federal regulators will still get to decide whether to let the acquisition go through, however, as the Justice Department filed a lawsuit to block a merger between AT&T and Time Warner, a move Trump has opposed. Time Warner owns the president’s favorite source of “fake news,” CNN.
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