March 21, 2019,   12:49 PM

Disney Closes $71.3 Billion Acquisition Of 21st Century Fox

Nermeen Abbas


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The deal brings The Simpsons under Disney's Umbrella - Photo credit: The Simpsons

The Walt Disney Company successfully closed its acquisition of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox yesterday, in a deal worth $71.3 billion that will see the company take control of most of Fox’s certain film and TV production assets.

The acquisition creates a worldwide entertainment giant that could compete with Netflix, Amazon, Apple and other streaming and tech companies, as well as bringing together Marvel characters such as The Simpsons, Deadpool, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men under Disney's umbrella. 

The massive deal includes 21st Century Fox’s renowned film production businesses, including: Twentieth Century Fox; Fox’s television creative units, Twentieth Century Fox Television and National Geographic Partners; Star India; and Fox’s interests in Hulu.

Under the acquisition, Disney has doubled its stake in Hulu to reach 60%. Hulu is the first streaming service to snag a best-drama Emmy with The Handmaid's Tale. However, Disney was already on track to launch its own streaming service "Disney Plus" within a year.

Through Fox's gate, Disney is now able to provide more entertainment options and expand its direct-to-consumer offerings, including ESPN+ for sports fans and Disney+ streaming video-on-demand service launching in late 2019.

"Combining Disney’s and 21st Century Fox’s wealth of creative content and proven talent creates the preeminent global entertainment company," said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. 

The acquisition is expected to yield at least $2 billion in cost synergies by 2021 from operating efficiencies realized through the combination of businesses. It raised concerns over layoffs in the thousands as the two-managements will merge.

Disney will be acquiring approximately $19.8 billion of cash and assuming around $19.2 billion of debt from 21st Century Fox in the acquisition. 

21st Century Fox has completed the spin-off of a portfolio of 21st Century Fox’s news, sports and broadcast businesses, including the FOX News Channel, FOX Sports, Fox Deportes and Big Ten Network, and certain other assets and liabilities, into Fox Corporation.

In 2018, Murdoch agreed to sell most of Fox's movie studio, FX, the National Geographic Network and its stake in Star India to Disney for $71.3 billion.

Murdoch's son, Lachlan, will run the new Fox, which will consist of its broadcast, cable news, business and sports networks.

Murdoch, a native of Australia has a net worth of $19.6 billion, according to Forbes Real Time Net Worth.

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