The Walt Disney Co. on Thursday announced plans to acquire most of 21st Century Fox’s assets for $52.4 billion, a deal that does not include Fox News, Fox Business Network, Fox Sports 1 or 2, the Big Ten Network or the Fox broadcasting network and stations.
The buyout will include Fox channels including FX and Nat Geo, among others. Fox’s film and entertainment franchises, which include “The Simpsons,” “X-Men,” and “Avatar,” will be owned by Disney.
“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,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger.
“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,” he continued.
“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.”
Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, also hailed the deal, saying “it will be one of the greatest companies in the world.”
“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,” said Murdoch, 86.
“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.”
A “new FOX” company will be spun off with the networks and stations not included in the massive deal.
Disney will also be acquiring Fox’s 30 percent stake in Hulu as the company looks to launch its own streaming service in 2019.
Federal regulators still need to approve the deal.
The Disney-Fox announcement comes just weeks after the Trump Justice Department sued AT&T to block its $85 billion merger with Time Warner.
“AT&T/DirecTV would hinder its rivals by forcing them to pay hundreds of millions of dollars more per year for Time Warner’s networks, and it would use its increased power to slow the industry’s transition to new and exciting video distribution models that provide greater choice for consumers,” the Nov. 20 filing read.
AT&T has vowed to fight for the merger in court.
Source: The Hill (JOE CONCHA)
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