Mickey Moolah: Disney rakes in 21st Century Fox properties to tune of $58.7bn
Disney completes $58.7bn grab of select 21st Century Fox properties
Disney and Comcast were both in the running to make this acquisition. Comcast stopped talks with Fox earlier this week, leaving Disney as the sole suitor for Fox’s properties. This deal included adding the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises to their Marvel Cinematic universe, in addition to acquiring The Simpsons and Avatar, which already has its own Pandora attraction at Walt Disney World in Florida.
Said Disney to the Wall Street Journal, Fox Broadcasting Network and its stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Sports 1 and 2 and the Big Ten Network will be listed in a separate company for shareholders. Disney also assumed $18.7bn in debt of 21st Century Fox.
Also important in this deal, Disney has agreed to a $2.5bn "breakup fee" if the deal is broken up by federal regulators. If either party chooses to pull out of the deal for other reasons, the cost to dissolve would be $1.52bn. According to Variety, this was a reflection of the hesitance media companies have towards the Justice Department's approach to media consolidation
This bolstered Disney’s offerings as it planned to launch its own streaming platform, pulling its properties so that it can rival Netflix. The rise of the streaming giant has taken a hit on Disney’s television networks (it's largest business), so this deal looks to bolster it.
Said Disney's Bob Iger in a joint statement: “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. 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."
“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. “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 (until 2021), and is committed to succeeding with a combined team that is second to none.”
Disney will continue to have its eyes on technology companies like Netflix and Amazon, but on NBCUniversal and AT&T, which still finds itself under government review for its acquisition of Time Warner.