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Disney acquires 21st Century Fox in a $71 billion deal

Disney acquires 21st Century Fox in a $71 billion deal

by Shruthi Venkatesh March 29 2019, 12:31 pm Estimated Reading Time: 1 min, 57 secs

Disney is now the official owner of Rupert Murdoch’s former entertainment empire, 21st Century Fox. The massive $71bn deal - completed after midnight New York time on Wednesday 20th March unites other franchise of X-Men, The Simpsons and Fantastic Four characters to Disney’s already impressive film catalogue which includes Star Wars and Cinderella.

Disney now also owns the Fox film and TV studios, National Geographic and Indian TV giant Star India. Ultimately, its aim is to compete with rivals Netflix and Amazon – reports the BBC.

Robert Iger, the chairman and chief executive of Walt Disney, said the deal’s completion was “an extraordinary and historic moment” and critically one he pledged would “create significant long-term value for our company and our shareholders”.

The deal unites franchises including The Simpsons and Star Wars

“Combining Disney’s and 21st Century Fox's wealth of creative content and proven talent creates the pre-eminent global entertainment company, well-positioned to lead in an incredibly dynamic and transformative era,” he added.

The move instantly cut the number of major Hollywood studios, ending the era of the “Big Six”. Warner Bros, Universal, Sony Pictures and Paramount Pictures now make up a Big Five with Disney. It also cast major doubt over the jobs of potentially thousands of workers; with experts predicting as many as 4,000 positions could be cut.

Murdoch, the billionaire former owner and executive co-chairman of 21st Century Fox, wrote a letter to employees, thanking them for their work – two days before the takeover was finalized.

Some of Fox’s other properties, including its news and sports businesses, have been recreated into the newly formed Fox Corporation. Disney also doubled its 30% stake in streaming service Hulu, making it by far the biggest stakeholder.

Disney has scooped up Fox’s movie and television studios, regional sports network and international holdings, among other investments. It has also gained the FX and National Geographic cable channels, and Fox's regional sports network in the US. Fox is creating a smaller firm, focused on news and major live sports events in the US. It will hold onto its flagship 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.

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