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Robert Iger

Disney Makes A $52.4 Billion Play For 21st Century Fox

Robert A. Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, and Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman, 21st Century Fox (Photo: Business Wire)
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NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) — The Walt Disney Company revealed on Thursday that it had reached an agreement to buy the lion’s share of the assets of media giant 21st Century Fox in an all-stock transaction valued at roughly $52.4 billion.

While the deal still faces regulatory approval, if it completes, it will reshape the media landscape and give Disney a range of content to allow them to compete with rivals in digital content delivery such as Netflix, Amazon, and Google.

21st Century Fox assets that were part of the proposed sale include g Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox 2000, Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Productions and Fox21. Disney will also acquire FX Networks, National Geographic Partners, Fox Sports Regional Networks, Fox Networks Group International, Star India and Fox’s interests in Hulu, Sky plc, Tata Sky and Endemol Shine Group, the company said.

The deal will also expand Disney’s reach through 21st Century Fox’s international assets such as Sky, which serves nearly 23 million households in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy; Fox Networks International, with more than 350 channels in 170 countries; and Star India, which operates 69 channels reaching 720 million viewers a month across India and more than 100 other countries.

According to the New York Times, the deal also means that movie studio 20th Century Fox will be downsized, with some of its current business operations folded into Walt Disney Studios, or repurposed to produce online content.

Disney Chairman Bob Iger agreed to renew his contract for the fourth time to oversee the completion of the merger and delaying his planned retirement from July 2019 until late 2021. 21st Century Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch made Iger’s involvement a condition of the sale.

“We’re honored and grateful that Rupert Murdoch has entrusted us with the future of businesses he spent a lifetime building,” Mr. Iger said in a statement.

The prospective deal still faces regulatory scrutiny and comes just a month after the U.S. Justice Department sued to block AT&T’s proposed $85.4 billion acquisition of Time-Warner, but Mr. Iger seemed confident that the acquisition would ultimately complete.

“If they look at it from a consumer point of view they should quickly conclude that the aim of this combination is to create more high-quality product for consumers around the world and to deliver it in more innovative, more compelling ways,” Mr. Iger told the New York Times.

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