Disney doubling down on streaming services with Fox deal

Ivan Schwartz
December 15, 2017

It will see Disney acquire the vaunted Fox Hollywood film and television studios, cable entertainment networks and worldwide TV businesses, bringing popular entertainment properties including X-Men, Avatar, The Simpsons, FX Networks and National Geographic into Disney's portfolio.

Walt Disney agreed to a $52.4 billion deal to acquire much of the global empire that media baron Rupert Murdoch assembled over three decades, from a fabled Hollywood studio to Europe's largest satellite-TV provider to one of India's most-watched channels.

Bob Iger, Disney's chief executive, said in August that he.

The sale marks an epic downsizing for Murdoch, an 86-year-old former Australian who spent his adult life amassing the assets that made him a kingmaker in USA and United Kingdom politics.

"Assuming 21st Century Fox completes its acquisition of Sky prior to closing of the transaction, The Walt Disney Company would assume full ownership of Sky, including the assumption of its outstanding debt, upon closing", the companies said in a statement. It also brings the rights to the X-Men, Avatar, and The Simpsons under the Disney umbrella.

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Mr Murdoch said the new company would be centred on live news and sports brands and the strength of the Fox network.

Hogan Lovells; Simpson Thacher & Bartlett; Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; and Allen & Overy have all grabbed roles advising 21st Century Fox in the deal.

He added: "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". The 20 per cent share that Murdoch had in Tata Sky, will also go to Disney. Fox instantly drew other suitors, all of which realized a sale of the Fox properties represented a rare opportunity to take out a competitor.

Disney's move to acquire the Fox library of content is seen as a bid to bolster its arsenal against Netflix and Amazon as well as emerging tech players such as Facebook and Apple, which are cashing in on a move towards streaming services and away from traditional pay TV packages. In March, he said he was committed to leaving the company in July 2019.

Other reports by GizPress

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