Disney Acquires 21st Century Fox Assets for $52.4 Billion


21st Century Fox's film production will come under Disney ownership

The $52.4 billion deal will combine two of the biggest players in Hollywood.

The BBC says that the sale was an unexpected move by Fox owner Rupert Murdoch.

Disney's global footprint also expands with the acquisition of Fox's worldwide satellite assets, including Star TV network in India and a stake in European pay-TV provider Sky Plc. According to those privy to the talks, the entire business of Star India, including entertainment and sports channels and the digital over-the-top channel Hotstar, will be transferred to Disney as part of the deal.

"There's a lot of change coming, people watch television differently, not news or business, but entertainment they watch very differently".

"It also includes one of the most coveted film libraries in the game - something that will be important as Disney pursues its ambitions to become a streaming media giant that challenges Netflix and forges direct relationships with consumers". Adding regional sports networks and FX would give Disney even greater leverage over pay-TV companies and make it tougher for new online distributors to get off the ground, he said. A purchase of Fox assets would increase Disney's stake in the popular Hulu streaming platform to 60%. And it is pulling its content from Netflix in preparation for the launch.

Mr Murdoch's shift to selling assets rather than buying them has come as a surprise to those who expected him to hand over the businesses to his sons, James and Lachlan.

There are also important global assets involved.

Currently Fox's bid for the 61 per cent of Sky it doesn't own is under review by the United Kingdom competition watchdog amid concerns over its impact on media plurality and commitment to broadcasting standards. Iger did point out that Disney's ownership puts it in a position to ramp considerably on original content based on its existing intellectual property, however.

The deal will needs to undergo regulatory review and will likely take at least a year to close.

The acquisition will give Disney a new pipeline of shows and movies as it battles technology companies spending billions of dollars on programming shown online to siphon audiences away from traditional TV networks. But on Monday Comcast said in statements to media outlets that it "never got the level of engagement needed to make a definitive offer" and was withdrawing from the discussions.

How will investors value the remaining Fox business?

"And during that period of time, he and I will continue to discuss whether there is a role for him here or not".

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