The Walt Disney Company has announced — along with some pretty big news from Disney CEO Bob Iger — their official acquisition of most of 21st Century Fox, a deal that has been long rumored and much discussed. The $66.1 billion buyout — paid with $52.4 billion in Disney stock and assumption of all debt owed by Fox — includes 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox 2000, 20th Century Fox Television, FX Productions, Fox21, FX Networks, National Geographic Partners, Fox Sports Regional Networks, Fox Networks Group International, and Star India. It also takes over Fox’s stake in Hulu, Sky, and Endemol Shine Group.
This means Disney will own Fox’s enormous film catalog, which is probably good news for superhero fans and probably just made Kevin Feige’s day. It also means Disney has ownership of Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope to add to its burgeoning Star Wars collection. It’s probably bad news for some of Disney and Fox’s employees, however, as there will likely be layoffs for workers in redundant positions. Deadline quoted an anonymous Fox employee who said a coworker recently walked around the office “wearing Mickey Mouse ears, which drew tense laughs.”
It’s important to note what isn’t included in the deal. Fox will spin out some assets into a new company. These assets include Fox News, Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2, and the Big Ten Network. This new company also retains ownership of the 50-plus acre studio lot in Los Angeles. Deadline reports, “Insiders expect the remaining Fox assets to eventually merge with News Corp., whose holdings include the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, and the Times of London. Though that combination won’t occur immediately.”
Shareholders in Fox will receive 0.2745 Disney shares for each Fox share they own.
The deal also appears to be larger than every previous Disney deal combined:
Here is the full press release:
The Walt Disney Company and Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement for Disney to acquire 21st Century Fox, including the Twentieth Century Fox Film and Television studios, along with cable and international TV businesses, for approximately $52.4 billion in stock (subject to adjustment). Building on Disney’s commitment to deliver the highest quality branded entertainment, the acquisition of these complementary assets would allow Disney to create more appealing content, build more direct relationships with consumers around the world and deliver a more compelling entertainment experience to consumers wherever and however they choose. Immediately prior to the acquisition, 21st Century Fox will separate the Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2 and Big Ten Network into a newly listed company that will be spun off to its shareholders.