The Walt Disney Company announced that it will acquire 21st Century Fox, including Twentieth Century Fox movie and TV studios, most of its cable networks, international assets like Star and Sky and its stake in Hulu for $52.4 billion. The deal will be an all-stock transaction.
Disney will also acquire Foxs 30 percent stake in Hulu, giving it 60 percent ownership of the streaming service. Comcast/NBCUniversal has a 30 percent stake, while Time Warner controls the other 10 percent.
The transaction includes Foxs regional sports networks. The new Fox will keep ESPN competitors Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 as well as the Big Ten Network, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network and the FOX broadcast network.
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, Robert Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, said in a statement. Were honored and grateful that Rupert Murdoch has entrusted us with the future of businesses he spent a lifetime building, and were 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.
Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, said in his own statement, 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. Furthermore, Im convinced that this combination, under Bob Igers leadership, will be one of the greatest companies in the world. Im grateful and encouraged that Bob has agreed to stay on, and is committed to succeeding with a combined team that is second to none.
Currently, Fox has movie rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises, which also includes Deadpool. Sonys Spider-Man films would be made outside of the company. And Disney, which opened an Avatar-themed land opened at Walt Disney Worlds Animal Kingdom in May, would have control over the Avatar franchise ahead of the coming four sequels that James Cameron has begun producing.
Disney said it expects the deal to be approved by regulators and close within 12 to 18 months.