Maui Business

Walt Disney Company to Acquire 21st Century Fox for $52.4 B

December 14, 2017, 8:13 AM HST
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Left to right: Robert A. Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, and Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman, 21st Century Fox (Photo: Business Wire)

The Walt Disney Company and Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. have entered into a definitive agreement for Disney to acquire 21st Century Fox, including the Twentieth Century Fox Film and Television studios, along with cable and international TV businesses, for approximately $52.4 billion in stock.

Popular entertainment properties including X-Men, Avatar, The Simpsons, FX Networks and National Geographic will join Disney’s portfolio under the deal. The purchase also expands Disney’s direct-to-consumer offerings with a controlling interest in Hulu.

Company executives say the agreement also provides Disney with the opportunity to reunite the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool with the Marvel family under one roof and create richer, more complex worlds of inter-related characters and stories that audiences have shown they love.

Company executives say the acquisition would allow Disney to create more appealing content, build more direct relationships with consumers around the world and deliver a more compelling entertainment experience to consumers.

According to the joint announcement, 21st Century Fox will separate the Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2 and Big Ten Network into a newly listed company that will be spun off to its shareholders immediately prior to the acquisition.

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“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 Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company.

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“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,” said Iger.

Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman of 21st Century Fox also commented 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,” said Murdoch in a joint announcement.

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At the request of both 21st Century Fox and the Disney Board of Directors, Iger has agreed to continue as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company through the end of calendar year 2021.

The transaction is subject to shareholder approval by 21st Century Fox and Disney shareholders, clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, a number of other non-United States merger and other regulatory reviews, and other customary closing conditions.

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