Today, the Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox made it official, announcing that Disney would buy a number of Fox’s assets for $52.4 billion. Disney will also assume $13.7 billion in debt from Fox, putting the total value of the deal around $66.1 billion. This development comes after weeks of rumors and talks, with Disney emerging as the favorite despite reported competition from Comcast and others at one time or another. These early reports led many fans to theorize and speculate what Disney might do with properties such as X-Men, Deadpool, Fantastic Four, and Avatar among many others.
As expected, this deal includes both Fox’s film and television studios, cable networks like FX and National Geographic, Fox’s share of Hulu (which Disney now has a controlling stake in), international properties such as Star in India and Fox’s 39% ownership of Sky, and Fox Sports’ regional networks. However, it does not include ownership of the Fox broadcast network, its affiliates, Fox News, Fox Business Channel, the main Fox Sports channels, or the Big Ten Network.
Due to this deal, Disney CEO Bob Iger has extended his contract and will stay on with the company through the end of 2021.
In a statement by Iger regarding the acquisition, he stated, “The acquisition of this stellar collection of businesses from 21st Century Fox reflects the increasing consumer demand for a rich diversity of entertainment experiences that are more compelling, accessible and convenient than ever before. We’re honored and grateful that Rupert Murdoch has entrusted us with the future of businesses he spent a lifetime building, and we’re excited about this extraordinary opportunity to significantly increase our portfolio of well-loved franchises and branded content to greatly enhance our growing direct-to-consumer offerings. The deal will also substantially expand our international reach, allowing us to offer world-class storytelling and innovative distribution platforms to more consumers in key markets around the world.”.” Fox’s Rupert Murdoch echoed those sentiments, saying, “We are extremely proud of all that we have built at 21st Century Fox, and I firmly believe that this combination with Disney will unlock even more value for shareholders as the new Disney continues to set the pace in what is an exciting and dynamic industry. Furthermore, I’m convinced that this combination, under Bob Iger’s leadership, will be one of the greatest companies in the world. I’m grateful and encouraged that Bob has agreed to stay on, and is committed to succeeding with a combined team that is second to none.”
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