Disney has acquired Fox’s entertainment division, 21st Century Fox, for $52.4 billion in a major move that will shake up the media industry. The move places most of Fox’s major entertainment assets under Disney such as film and TV studios, movies like X-Men and Deadpool, and even shows such as The Simpsons and The Americans. Disney will also be getting a hold of Fox’s TV channels such as FX and National Geographic.
“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 Bob Iger, CEO of Disney. “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.”
“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.”
X-Men, Deadpool, and The Fantastic Four could one day be a part of the MCU
So what does this mean for you, the end consumer? For Marvel fans, it means X-Men, Deadpool, and The Fantastic Four will finally be under the same roof as the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Disney says the deal gives them the opportunity to “reunite the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool with the Marvel family under one roof and create richer, more complex worlds of inter-related characters and stories that audiences have shown they love.”
And for fans of the Avatar franchise which James Cameron is going ham at, it means Disney’s Pandora – The World of Avatar attraction at Walt Disney World Resort makes a lot more sense than before.
Hulu will also be undoubtedly be affected by this deal as well. When it closes, Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox will see the former gaining as much as 60% stock in Hulu, so some changes are bound to take place. Other shareholders in Hulu include Tim Warner and Comcast who will be reduced to 10% and 30% stakes, respectively.
Disney wants to “create more appealing and engaging experiences” with this deal
Speaking of streaming services, acquiring 21st Century Fox also gives Disney a wider selection of content for its own streaming services from themselves and the folks at ESPN. Disney says the deal will allow them to “create more appealing and engaging experiences, delivering content, entertainment, and sports to consumers around the world wherever and however they want to enjoy it.”
Customers who are subscribed to Sky in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, or Italy may also see a change since Disney will now be taking over this division as well. Fox already owns a major stake in the company and plans on taking over it entirely before the Disney deal closes.
As for Fox, the company will be focusing on the arguably more profitable news and sports industries to further its business. It’ll focus stronger on its Fox News outlets and various affiliates alongside the Fox Sports and Fox Business divisions. the company finds ditching the entertainment industry the best move possible for its business, so it’ll be interesting to see how well it holds up in the near future.
Finally, Bob Iger, Disney’s CEO, will be extending his stay at the company to 2021, two more years than when he was originally planning on leaving.
We haven’t been given a timeline for when this deal will close, but I would assume it will do so in the coming weeks. As for when you can expect changes to the various areas discussed here, I’d assume we’ll start seeing signs and proof that Disney now owns all of 21st Century Fox sometime next year. We’ll let you know when the first major changes and introductions are made.