After all the back and forth discussions online between fans and rumors, the deal between Disney and Fox is now complete.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney is set to acquire a giant part of 21st Century Fox in a deal that is worth $52.4 billion, up to approximately $66.1 billion when Fox’s debt that Disney is acquiring too is included. This deal is not an instant one as the companies are preparing for an extended regulatory review process and expect the deal to be closed somewhere between 12 to 18 months from now.
This deal, of course, includes Disney/Marvel gaining full control of the X-Men and Fantastic Four rights that will allow the studio to begin to merge the Marvel worlds closer together in some form. In the deal, Disney will also buy up Fox’s film and television studio, the National Geographic & FX/FXX channels & businesses, the Fox regional sports networks, some international networks including Star India, Fox’s 30% stake in Hulu and it’s 39% stake in the European pay television network Sky.
“Combining with Disney are 21st Century Fox’s critically acclaimed film production businesses, including Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox 2000, which together offer diverse and compelling storytelling businesses and are the homes of Avatar, X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool, as well as The Grand Budapest Hotel, Hidden Figures, Gone Girl, The Shape of Water and The Martian — and its storied television creative units, Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Productions and Fox21, which have brought The Americans, This Is Us, Modern Family, The Simpsons and so many more hit TV series to viewers across the globe,” Disney said in a statement.
Announced alongside the deal, as part of the agreement Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger agreed to extend his contract with the company till 2021 after he was set to depart in 2019. Fox co-executive chairman Rupert Murdoch and CEO James Murdoch and Lachlan Murdoch will all be key shareholders of Disney stock, with Fox shareholders to end up with a 25 percent stake in Disney.
As part of the acquisition process, Fox will separate their Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Sports 1 & 2, and Big Ten network into a brand new company. Originally word came down of Disney trying to acquire Fox because Fox executives were looking to downsize their company and put a greater focus on the news and sports portions of their holdings.
While the Murdochs will keep the remains of Fox under their control, James Murdoch reportedly could end up with a senior Disney executive role once the deal is done. There are even rumors that they could be eying him as a replacement for Iger once he does leave in 2021
This deal also means that there is one less independent big film studio with Fox falling under the control of Disney now, and it also means that likely many will lose their jobs once the studios begin to close down or merge together similar departments or assets from both companies.