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Disney Buys Fox For $52.4 Billion: Here Are The Key Points Of The Deal

And it’s official: the Walt Disney Company said today that it has reached a definitive agreement to buy the majority of assets belonging to Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox. The all-stock deal is worth around $52.4 billion.

The deal has huge and far-reaching implications for the entire entertainment industry, creating uncertainty for many people. It will take a lot of time to untangle the effects of the deal.

The bottomline is that for consumers who desire choice and variety, this is obviously a very bad deal, reducing the number of major American-owned entertainment producers from five companies to four. It’s also nothing short of a travesty that a handful of profit-driven conglomerates exert so much control over America’s cultural identity, and that a relative handful of people control the narrative of a diverse and rich nation of 325 million people.

For an overview of what’s happening, read the official Disney press release that explains the deal, followed by this piece in the New York Times.

Here are some of the deal’s key points:

  • Disney CEO Bob Iger isn’t leaving Disney in July 2019, as originally planned. His contract has been extended through the end of 2021. Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, and Disney’s board of directors both asked Iger to stay.
  • Disney CEO Robert Iger (left) and 21st Century Fox executive chairman Rupert Murdoch. Photo: Walt Disney Co.
    Disney CEO Robert Iger (left) and 21st Century Fox executive chairman Rupert Murdoch. Photo: Walt Disney Co.
  • In terms of scale, the Fox acquisition dwarfs the previous ones that Iger made for Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm. Disney shelled out just under $16 billion for those three companies combined.
  • While the Fox deal is worth $52.4 billion, Disney is also taking on $13.7 billion of 21st Century Fox’s net debt, making the total transaction value worth $66.1 billion.
  • Disney now owns the film rights to Avatar, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Deadpool, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Hidden Figures, Gone Girl, Planet of the Apes, Ice Age, The Shape of Water, and The Martian, as well as tv rights to This Is Us, Modern Family, The Simpsons, Family Guy, The Americans, and dozens of other shows. They also acquired FX Networks, National Geographic Partners, Fox Sports Regional Networks, Fox Networks Group International, Star India, and Fox’s interests in Hulu, Sky plc, Tata Sky, and Endemol Shine Group. The Simpsons team released the image below to commemorate being acquired by Disney.
  • Specifically related to animation, Disney now owns Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios. Is three feature animation studios too many or will Disney hang on to Blue Sky in addition to Disney and Pixar? Also important to note that Fox Animation was in a state of expansion, and recently signed a deal with the U.K.’s Locksmith Animation to create a second pipeline for animated films, in addition to Blue Sky. What’s going to happen to all these films? It’s a waiting game at this point. Blue Sky director Michael Thurmeier (Ice Age: Continental Drift, Ice Age: Collision Course) reflected on the confused and uncertain mood at Blue Sky with the tweet below.
  • Expect layoffs – and “substantial” ones according to analysts quoted by the LA Times. Disney has already said that the acquisition is expected to yield at least $2 billion in cost savings from “efficiencies realized through the combination of businesses.”
  • Disney did not acquire Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2, and the Big Ten Network. 21st Century Fox will separate those assets into a newly listed company that will be spun off to its shareholders.
  • Disney, which previously owned 30% of the streaming service Hulu also bought Fox’s 30% share, giving them a majority stake in the service. The other owners include Comcast and Time Warner.
  • Disney is now a serious player in online video. “We are not really looking to necessarily reach the scale of Netflix quickly,” Iger said this morning on Good Morning America which airs on Disney-owned ABC, “but we certainly aim to be an able competitor to theirs.” Disney has already announced that they will launch multiple streaming services in 2019.
  • Disney’s international reach significantly expands with the acquisition of Sky, Fox Networks International, and Star. Sky serves nearly 23 million households in the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Austria, and Italy; Fox Networks International has more than 350 channels in 170 countries; and Star India operates 69 channels reaching 720 million viewers a month across India and more than 100 other countries.
  • The deal still has to pass U.S. regulatory hurdles, which as Variety points out, will be a complicated process.
  • Rupert Murdoch’s son, Fox chief executive officer James Murdoch, could play a key role at Disney and a Bloomberg report has even speculated that he could succeed Iger at Disney in 2021. For now, all Iger is saying is that, “James and I will be talking over the next number of months. He’s going to be integral to the integration process, and he and I will be discussing whether there is a role for him or not at our company.”
  • Pedro Nakama

    So remember to see “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” this weekend because Disney needs the down payment money for this deal.

  • Timmy

    bye bye blue sky. No need for disney to have a deal with locksmith animation…

  • Ron Yavnieli

    Who are the 4 now? Disney, WB, Universal and who else?

    • Fluffydips

      Disney, Time Warner, Comcast, Viacom (National Amusement)

    • James Brawnson

      Viacom/CBS.

    • HN

      Disney, WB, Universal, Sony, and Paramount. Then there are the mini-majors led by Lionsgate and Annapurna.

    • Adam Davis

      You’re thinking of the major studios, the other one of which is Paramount. Not sure those are the same companies Amid was talking about, though.

      EDIT: Here’s the ones he was talking about, I think:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_cross-ownership_in_the_United_States

      Apparently the big four now are Comcast, National Amusements, Time Warner and of course The Walt Disney Company. 21st Century Fox (which owned 20th Century Fox and a lot of other stuff that Disney just bought) was the other one until now.

    • Alex Hartsell

      Paramount and Sony Pictures (but Sony Pictures could be sold off from Sony Corporation due to the bad things that have happen to the company from being hacked by North Korea to the problem with the new Ghostbusters movie and the negative reviews of The Emoji Movie. Also I think Universal could buy Sony Pictures if this happens).

    • Bernie Wallace

      My guess is Paramount or Sony.

      • AmidAmidi

        It’s bizarre that there’s a discussion/confusion about this when the original article above contains a link that explains exactly who the companies are.

    • Renard N. Bansale

      Columbia (Sony)

    • Bob

      Disney, Warner brothers, Comcast/universal, Viacom

    • Polecat

      Viacom is my guess. Unless I’m mistaken.

  • Dante Panora

    Before this deal I imagined the 2020’s being a time of decline for disney for a multitude of reasons:

    1. What with Infinity War basically being confirmed to be the “finale” and multiple contracts expiring I expected a reboot based on Moviebob’s idea that since the Marvel comics are trying to become more diverse they would rebrand the movies with more a more inclusive slate of characters. The Scientest from Age of Ultron was the Chinese hulk’s mother in the comics. But I don’t know if these kinds of movies will do so well domestically without the well established star-power, and with this new news I don’t know if those plans will go through that way.

    2. I don’t think Star Wars will turn out to be as successful as Disney imagined it would be. This new trilogy is bound to make alot of money, but public perception of this spin-off movies like Rouge One is pretty lukewarm in comparison, and people seem to have alot of reservations about the han solo and obi-wan movies. They may scale down on those significantly. What with the next Rian Johnson lead trilogy abandoning the skywalker saga, I don’t think it will even approach the numbers of the sequel trilogy, especially coming out so soon after the other has already ended.

    3. Disney animation may be slipping out of this revival soon. Being subjective here, the plot of Wreck it Ralph 2 seems very vapid and self-indulgent what with the plethora of disney cameos on the internet. I think the Frozen backlash will be Frozen 2’s biggest detriment, especially after the Coco short. As I mentioned before Gigantic’s cancellation seems to point to indecisions about how to handle storytelling with the disney formula. Pixar has stated they have no sequels planned in the 2020’s, but honestly I don’t think they’ll ever reclaim the prestige and success they achieved in the 2000’s. They may still make a really good movie every now and then, but now they just kind of blend in with disney films. Even though John Lasseter did those terrible things, him leaving may result in some creative struggles in the studios, which may be why disney does not want to fire him.

    4. That sequel to the live action 2010 Alice in Wonderland was terrible. Basically a big-budget direct-to-dvd disney film but in theaters. What with disney suggesting a live action jungle book 2 and a gaston prequel, I think once Disney is done remaking their most popular animated films no one is going to care much for them afterword.

    This post is way too long as it is, but although disney has purchased even more sources of income with this deal i can still imagine them facing some setbacks in the 2020’s. But no matter what, they can’t stop making Pirates movies.

    • Fluffydips

      I agree here, maybe some change in personnel will shake things up for the mouse house a bit, and maybe some new animation folks can bring something new to the table at Disney/Pixar. Because I’ll agree when you say that Disney’s animated line up looks meh. I was really hyped for Incredibles and Ralph 2 but they look lame and I know they could’ve done something better. We will see.

      • Johnny Cash

        “….. maybe some new animation folks can bring something new to the table at Disney/Pixar…” when i read here in the brew about several top talents leaving Pixar to do their own thing..I was a bit skeptic about their reasons..I got a clue from the last person (from what I know) who left Pixar. I think Pixar is a very hard egg to crack especially if you’re an outsider or newbie..I doubt even if we revive leonardo da vinci right now and have him work at pixar I think he’d be met with some opposition..though this is all just my opinion but my opinion is based on my own research from comments from former and currently working at pixar.

        The downside I see in disney having a much broader influence in the entertainment industry is that corporations tend to rest on their laurels and has a tendency to adopt the “if it;s not broken don’t fix it” approach..there might be a chance that no matter how ground breaking or unique your idea to expound for a certain feature or new one. Disney might just scoff it off and ignore it..and because of it’s extremely huge control they can always say this to you if you try to convince them. “Remember (insert name) we can always replace you.”

        “….Disney’s animated line up looks meh…” this is my evidence that wide corporate sht tends to rest on its laurels. and become formulaic. It happened way back in the 80’s when Don Bluth left the studio even Milt Kahl felt the complacency that’s why he left after Rescuers. We should be thankful for Don’s films, The Care Bears, and the others who kicked disney in the nut to remind them that if you become complacent we will replace you..and good thing for disney the company woke up and started to collect their shit and wits and created the 2nd disney renaissance. In our case today there’d be no Land Before Time, Care Bears to kick disney’s nuts to remind him again because disney bought almost everything. Still this is just me I hope i’m wrong.

        • Fluffydips

          There will be some new up and coming studio that shows up and kicks ass, like Illumination or Dreamworks or something. And it’ll scare the other studios into working hard again. I just hope it’s soon, because I’m so sick of the current state of theatrical animation.

          • Mermaid Warrior

            I’d love a Dreamworks comeback, but I wouldn’t count on it. They haven’t really done anything interesting in a while, which is unfortunate, they used to be experimental. Illumination movies make money, but they haven’t really made anything particularly fresh or interesting.

            If stop-motion was more popular, I bet people would be going crazy for Laika.

          • Johnny Cash

            dreamworks happened because jeffrey really wanted to become boss really, really, really bad..he didn’t get it at disney’s at the speed he wanted..so here comes dreamworks and when being boss started to get boring he then moved on..IMO he was never converted to the faith or so he claimed. hahaha!

    • Roman Reigns Owns The IWC

      I have faith in Jungle Book 2, I liked the first one. A Gaston prequel however, I don’t get that.

    • Johnny Cash

      in my opinion especially the star wars franchise..disney seems to be experimenting star wars via expansion. Creating spin offs and other star wars related stuff those are very clever and awesome choices FINANCIALLY. On the other hand since the star wars franchise is only an acquired material and disney will never give a flying F over the story. For me the Han Solo and Obi Wan movies are just another faucet stabbed at the star wars reservoir for another cash outlet. For me the star wars franchise under disney will be raped and pillaged to the point that the only thing that you’ll recognize from the franchise is its name. I just hope I am wrong.

    • Johnny Cash

      But on the purchase..I just hope disney won’t disintegrate into just a corporate entity..with too much properties in its hand it’ll become impartial and impersonal to its creatures but becoming a factory ever pumping material without regard.

      • You mean like Warner lol?

    • Polecat

      No wonder they bought Fox. Somehow I hadn’t quite realized that they were so desperate for fresh blood in the talent department.

    • Mermaid Warrior

      Recently I looked up the upcoming Disney animated films, and with Gigantic cancelled the only two movies are sequels, and that had me a little concerned. Disney has been doing a good job with new, original stuff, and now they don’t have any planned.

    • Jack Napier

      “A lot,” not “alot.”

  • Troy

    All this just to get Hulu? (sarcasm)
    Joking aside: “reducing the number of major American-owned entertainment producers from five companies to four”
    In a different scale, from the major six studios reduced down to five I got Disney, Sony, Universal, Fox (formerly), Paramount, and Warner Bros. Regardless I wonder what it looks like in pie chart form to show how much control Disney has in regards to animation.

  • Andres Molina

    To be perfectly honest, I’m not really surprised about this purchase. I suspected that Fox would be purchased to be perfectly honest. Well, I’m personally both worried and optimistic about what will await in the future. At very least, the X-Men can now join the MCU. But yeah, the purchase is going to be a long journey, but that doesn’t mean this journey has to be all doom and gloom. Now here are a few possibilities this purchase will go:

    -Fox will be treated as more of an adult/experimental division of Disney (and could very well replace TouchStone Pictures)

    -Fox will literally continue how it is right now, and Disney will simply now own two major studios.

    -Fox will be absorbed and retooled into the Disney brand, which would result to numerous layoffs and massive changes within the company itself.

    Speaking of rebranding, what does this purchase say about all the projects that are currently in development or had recently started production? All I will say is, whatever comes in the future, bring it on.

  • Inkan1969

    So if Blue Sky makes a “Ferdinand 2”, will they have to change the character designs to look like the characters in the old Disney cartoon?

  • Andres Molina

    Speaking of the Disney/Fox purchase, what makes this deal even more interesting is that back in June/July of this year, Fox had invested a large minority stake in independent comic book company Boom Studios, who had for the last few years been partnering with Fox to make films based on their comic books such as Lumberjanes, Irredeemable, Mouse Guard, Imagine Agents, Malignant Man, and the recently announced Goldie Vance film. Now with Disney’s purchase, it means that Disney possibly now owns whatever investment Fox made with Boom, assuming they want to own the investment, and if they do, this could mean that whatever films are in production or in development Fox will continue on, or these project will either be delayed, retooled, or moved to a different studio (possibly within the Walt Disney company), in case thats true. I’m just telling you all this in case you’re wondering, because if Disney does end up or wants to own any Boom-related investment from Fox and Disney does show interest in Boom as a result, then it could within the next decade lead to Boom Studios being purchased by Disney, which could make the Mouse, the first studio to own 2 comic book companies (assuming Disney is interesting in investing on another comic book company). Now, assuming Disney does own all of Fox’s Boom investment, the prospect of Disney actually purchasing the Boom whole, or simply investing with Boom in my opinion 50/50 because one, with Fox being purchased, Disney could possibly go in negotiations with Boom for possible new projects, but at the same, there is an equal possibly that Disney will simply sell the investment to another company, considering the Disney already owns Marvel. Yet at the same time, Disney may want to dip their toes on non-super hero comic book property. In the end, everything I’m saying right now are just predictions and speculations. Now as far as what may actually happen in the future, that is yet to be determined, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

  • My Name is Rio

    This is the perfect opportunity Universal has waited for ever since.

    Like in the Vietnam war, being nimble made a whole lot of a difference.

    • Polecat

      What do you think Universal will do now?

  • Newt Salamander

    The thing is, Murdoch wanted to sell these properties anyway. Who else should have bought them?

    • Inkan1969

      Maybe we could’ve passed the hat around and bought it ourselves?

  • Alex Hartsell

    Since this is happen, I think we should ride The Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios as many times as possible. Seeing how Disney and Universal are in tough battles with each other when it comes to theme parks. If they close and replace the Simpsons ride, I think it be cool if they replace it with the Dragon Ball Z ride and Shonen Jump area from Japan so they can get truck loads of anime and manga fans in the park.

  • Polecat

    If there’s anything good to come out of this, it’s that delightful Selman headline image.

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    Do you realise that, ‘Ferdinand’ is now officially a Disney release?

  • Glowworm

    So is Anastasia finally a Disney movie?

  • Mermaid Warrior

    I’m not happy about it, but FOX was gonna get sold anyway, and with the other options being Comcast and Verizon, I guess Disney is the lesser of the evils.

    As for how this is going to affect FOX media… A lot of people are afraid that Disney is going to make it all toned down and kid-friendly, which definitely isn’t going to happen. Disney releases a lot of harder content under the names of different companies they own. They’re not gonna slap a big Disney logo on Deadpool 2, but they’re gonna keep it R-rated.

    I’m not really a fan of Blue Sky studios but I would hate to see all of those animators lose their jobs. I’m concerned for them because, for one, it’s not a studio that sells itself on name like Pixar or Disney or even Dreamworks. The average moviegoer can’t tell you what Blue Sky is. The second issue is their lack of franchises. Studios today are much more franchise-focused. Can this be a film series? A TV series? Can we make spin-offs, or stick these characters into other franchises that we own? Yeah, Blue Sky has Rio and Ice Age, but neither of those have films in development, and while they’ve made money, they’re not money-printing machines either.

  • Mister Twister

    How big must a corporation get until it finally explodes?