Disney to buy 21st Century Fox assets for $52.4 billion
Bart Simpson, meet Mickey Mouse.
X-Men, welcome home to Marvel.
The Walt Disney Co. will purchase assets of 21st Century Fox, including its movie and TV divisions, for $52.4 billion in stock, Disney announced on Thursday morning.
This will shift a large part of the Rupert Murdoch-controlled Fox to the Mouse House, as Disney acquires the 20th Century Fox movie and TV divisions and cable channels, including its back catalog of films and shows.
That means the film rights to X-Men and Deadpool will now revert back to Disney-owned Marvel, while the studio also takes ownership of James Cameron’s Avatar franchise, and everything from the Fox network from The X-Files to Empire can now get their own Disneyland rides. (Let’s not get ahead of things, though.)
Disney also will buy Fox’s majority stake in Hulu’s video streaming service. Disney has hinted about creating its own streaming option and ending participation with rivals like Netflix, and this would seem to open up a new option. Hulu has 32 million users, according to latest figures.
Disney CEO Bob Iger will also stay on at the company through 2021, the announcement said. Iger was previously set to exit in 2019.
“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,” he said in Thursday morning’s announcement. “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. 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.”
Fox News and Fox Sports would be among the non-entertainment Fox elements that will not be included in the deal, but will instead be rearranged “into a newly listed company that will be spun off to its shareholders,” Disney’s announcement said.
Iger has added another immense entertainment company to his collection, which includes acquiring animation giant Pixar in 2006 for $7.4 billion, Marvel in 2008 for $4 billion, and Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise in 2012 for another $4 billion.
At $52.4 billion, the purchase of the Fox film studio, started by William Fox in 1915, would dwarf all of them.
Meanwhile, fans will look at this as Disney acquiring one of the biggest and most luxurious toyboxes in all of geekdom.