The massive merger is now official.
After weeks of rumors, Disney has officially announced the purchase of 21st Century Fox. The $52.4 billion deal includes Twentieth Century Fox Film and Television studios, along with cable and international TV properties. With that said, the Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2, and Big Ten Network will be separated into a new company and will not be part of the agreement.
"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. "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."
As part of the deal, Disney will now add Fox's many film and TV properties, including Avatar, The Simpsons, FX Networks, and National Geographic to its own portfolio. Likewise, the agreement will finally let Fox's Marvel film/TV franchises enter Disney's MCU, including the X-Men and Fantastic Four -- allowing Wolverine and The Human Torch to pal around with The Avengers on the big screen for the first time. In addition, Disney is also receiving 21st Century Fox's investment in Hulu, giving Disney the majority stake in the streaming platform, which might bolster the company's plans for its own previously announced digital entertainment services. Finally, Disney will gain Fox's international properties as well, including Star in India and Fox's 39% ownership of Sky across Europe.
"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 Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman of 21st Century Fox. "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."
Both companies' Boards of Directors have approved the transaction, but the deal is still subject to shareholder approval, clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, merger reviews, regulatory reviews, and customary closing conditions.