Disney buys Fox as Hollywood girds for digital showdown

Disney’s £39bn deal to buy big chunk of Murdoch’s empire			
   by Aidan Radnedge 

Disney’s £39bn deal to buy big chunk of Murdoch’s empire by Aidan Radnedge Published

21st Century Fox will also spin off Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News, Fox Business, and other assets to its shareholders.

Walt Disney has taken over Rupert Murdoch's 21 Century Fox in a deal worth $52.4bn (£39bn), with Sky included in the package.

Disney is acquiring Fox's movie studios, regional sports networks, parts of Hulu and British telecommunications company Sky TV, network Nat Geo and Asian pay-TV operator Star TV, the company announced Thursday. Fox will retain Fox News, its basic broadcast network and its national sports channels.

It would also be a monumental deal for 21st Century Fox, significantly changing the company's trajectory and chief executive Rupert Murdoch's legacy. One analyst said the sale was a sign that the Murdochs see the challenges that the entertainment industry has been dealing with, particularly cord cutting and competition from streaming video services, as increasingly hard to address. (DIS) in a deal that valued at about $52.4 billion.

Deal Disney’s Bob Iger with Rupert Murdoch
Deal Disney’s Bob Iger with Rupert Murdoch

Industry insiders said the deal is a brilliant move by the Murdoch family since the traditional cable business is declining. "Trying to get out now is absolutely the right move".

Disney chairman and CEO Robert Iger, 66, has been set to exit his post in 2019, but amid the deal, he has agreed to extend his contract through the end of 2021. It'll gain a majority stake in Hulu through the deal, too.

Brian Weiser, senior research analyst for the Pivotal Research Group, said Disney will likely now have improved leverage while negotiating with cable and new media distributors as well as improved capacity to make more content and multiple approaches for going direct to consumer with their content. Australian-born Murdoch inherited his father's newspaper business in 1952 and transformed it over many years, acquiring premiere properties such as the Wall Street Journal, the London Times and the 20th Century Fox movie studio.

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