Disney buying large part of 21st Century Fox in $52.4 billion deal

“Disney is buying a large part of the Murdoch family’s 21st Century Fox for about $52.4 billion in stock, including film and television studios and cable and international TV businesses, as it tries to meet competition from technology companies in the entertainment business,” Tali Arbel reports for The Associated Press. “The deal gives Disney film businesses including Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox 2000, which together are the homes of Avatar, X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool. On the television side, Disney will get Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Productions and Fox21, with shows including ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘Modern Family.'”

“21st Century Fox shareholders will receive 0.2745 Disney shares for each share they own. The transaction also includes approximately $13.7 billion in debt,” Arbel reports. “Robert Iger will continue as chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Co. through the end of 2021.”

“Before the buyout, 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,” Arbel reports. “That Rupert Murdoch and his sons were willing to sell off much of the business that has been built up over decades came as a shock to the entertainment industry. The entertainment business is going through big changes. TV doesn’t have a monopoly on home entertainment anymore. There’s Netflix, which is spending up to $8 billion on programming next year. Amazon is building its own library, having splashed out on global TV rights to ‘Lord of the Rings.’ Facebook, Google and Apple are also investing in video.”

“Fox will be left with the live events, news and sports, that are key parts of the traditional TV bundle,” Arbel reports. “There is speculation that the Murdochs would want to recombine what’s the slimmed-down Fox with News Corp.”

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  1. As we approached the end of our relationship with Disney and looked at our future, we sort of saw a fork in the road. Where we were headed for a Lucasfilm type distribution agreement on one side or, as Bob Iger and I started to talk more, potentially joining — throwing in with Disney, joining Disney.
    The more we thought about it, the more we thought about becoming part of Disney and being able to make our films without being two independent companies with two independent shareholder bases, with two independent agendas. But really everybody focused just on the films, and the stories, and the characters. And then being able to leverage those assets through Disney’s incredible array of unique distribution channels and other creative assets like the theme parks. After a lot of soul-searching and thinking and, of course, getting to know Bob, we came to the conclusion that this looked to be the most exciting path to Pixar’s future. And so we decided to do it. We ended up doing this deal because we could get rid of all of the stuff that had nothing to do with making these movies, and we could focus on what Pixar does best. It enabled us to stay focused on what we love, which is making these movies. This was going to let us stay focused on that, and yet have the entire leverage of The Walt Disney Company to move these characters and stories out into the culture.
    In terms of our employees that were Disney alums, Pixar was still going to be called Pixar. We were going to be a part of Disney, but we were also going to keep our culture.

    Excerpt source: Steve Jobs: The unauthorized autobiography

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