As we expected, The Walt Disney Company and Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. (21st Century Fox) have officially announced this morning 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.
“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,”
said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company.
“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. The deal will also substantially expand our international reach, allowing us to offer world-class storytelling and innovative distribution platforms to more consumers in key markets around the world.”
“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, Executive Chairman of 21st Century Fox.
“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, and is committed to succeeding with a combined team that is second to none.”
Iger has agreed to stay on as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company through the calendar year 2021 at the request of both 21st Century Fox and the Disney Board of Directors.
Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger says he’s going to stay with Disney until the end of 2021 after announcing Disney will acquire 21st Century Fox: “I’ve got one of the greatest jobs in the world…this combination makes it even more exciting.” pic.twitter.com/HrPi8pPg54
— Good Morning America (@GMA) December 14, 2017
“When considering this strategic acquisition, it was important to the Board that Bob remain as Chairman and CEO through 2021 to provide the vision and proven leadership required to successfully complete and integrate such a massive, complex undertaking,” said Orin C. Smith, Lead Independent Director of the Disney Board. “We share the belief of our counterparts at 21st Century Fox that extending his tenure is in the best interests of our company and our shareholders, and will be critical to Disney’s ability to effectively drive long-term value from this extraordinary acquisition.”
Below are the highlights of the deal:
- Acquisition complements and enhances The Walt Disney Company’s ability to provide consumers around the world with more appealing content and entertainment options
- Transaction to include 21st Century Fox’s film and television studios, cable entertainment networks and international TV businesses
- Popular entertainment properties including X-Men, Avatar, The Simpsons, FX Networks, and National Geographic to join Disney’s portfolio
- Expands Disney’s direct-to-consumer offerings with addition of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment content, capabilities in the Americas, Europe and Asia; Hulu stake becomes a controlling interest
- Addition of extensive international properties, including Star in India and Fox’s 39% ownership of Sky across Europe, enhances Disney’s position as a truly global entertainment company with world-class offerings in key regions