The Walt Disney Company has closed its $71 billion (€62.5bn) acquisition of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox in a deal that unites franchises including The Simpsons, Marvel, Star Wars and Avatar under one corporate umbrella. Disney closed the acquisition shortly after midnight (GMT-4) on March 20th.
Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company commented on the acquisition: “This is an extraordinary and historic moment for us – one that will create significant long-term value for our company and our shareholders. Combining Disney’s and 21st Century Fox’s wealth of creative content and proven talent creates the preeminent global entertainment company, well positioned to lead in an incredibly dynamic and transformative era.”
The deal will see Disney significantly increase its international footprint and expand its direct-to-consumer offerings, which include ESPN+, Hulu, and the highly-anticipated Disney+ streaming video-on-demand service launching in late 2019. Disney says the acquisition of 21st Century Fox will allow it to provide more appealing premium content and entertainment options to meet growing consumer demand.
The acquisition includes 21st Century Fox’s iconic film production businesses, including Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox 2000 Pictures, Fox Family and Fox Animation.
Fox’s television creative units are part of the deal including Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Productions and Fox21; FX Networks; National Geographic Partners. International TV networks owned by Fox include Fox Networks Group International; India's leading pay-TV network Star India; and Fox’s stake in Hulu, Tata Sky and Endemol Shine Group.
Rupert Murdoch has already completed the spin-off of Fox Corporation - a portfolio of companies not part of the deal with Disney.
21st Century Fox’s news, sports and broadcast businesses that make up the new corporation include the FOX News Channel, FOX Business Network, FOX Broadcasting Company, FOX Sports, FOX Television Stations Group, and sports cable networks FS1, FS2, Fox Deportes and Big Ten Network.
The terms of the acquisition also include Disney acquiring approximately $19.8 billion of cash and assuming approximately $19.2 billion of debt of 21st Century Fox. The acquisition price implies a total equity value of approximately $71 billion and a total transaction value of approximately $71 billion.
Disney said the acquisition is expected to yield at least $2 billion in cost synergies by 2021 from operating efficiencies realized through the merger.