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Disney to buy 21st Century Fox for ?49bn

Rupert Murdoch is to sell a vast swathe of his media empire to the Walt Disney Company for $66bn (?49.1bn).
The media giant today said it would acquire most of Mr Murdoch's 21st Century Fox business, including its stake in UK broadcaster Sky and the 20th Century Fox film studio, in an all-share deal.
Disney chief executive Bob Iger, who will continue to lead the combined company, said: “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."
Disney will acquire what remains of Fox after its Fox Broadcasting network and channels including Fox News and Fox Business are spun off into a new company. Fox shareholders will end up with 25pc of the combined company.
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It expects to create $2bn in cost savings from the deal, which will strengthen its hand as it faces up to competition from online tech giants Netflix and Amazon.
Mr Murdoch said: “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.”
Disney said the deal, which is likely to take 12 to 18 months to close, was not contingent on Fox successfully completing its planned takeover of the 61pc of Sky it does not currently own. That deal is awaiting regulatory approval and is expected to be approved or rejected early next year.
Disney to buy 21st Century Fox for ?49bn

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It had been reported that Mr Murdoch’s son James, currently chief executive of Fox, could be handed a senior role at Disney after the deal closed.
Today Mr Iger said: “[James] will be integral to helping us integrate these companies over the next number of months and during that period of time he and I will continue to discuss whether there’s a role for him here or not.”
Disney's takeover is subject to approval by shareholders of both businesses, and could also face opposition from competition regulators. The US justice department is currently suing the telecoms firm AT&T in a bid to prevent its takeover of media giant TimeWarner.
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Mr Iger said he expected the deal to attract the attention of regulators but that “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 products for consumers around the world.”  
The brands Disney will acquire include FX Networks, National Geographic, Fox Sports, Star India and Fox’s interests in Hulu and Endemol Shine.
Mr Murdoch and his family also own publishing giant News Corporation, whose brands include the Wall Street Journal, The Times, The Sun and HarperCollins.  
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