Walt Disney Company announces acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc.

After much speculation, the Walt Disney Company has officially announced the acquisiton of Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc., (after spinning off “certain businesses”) for approximately $52.4 billion in stock (subject to adjustment).

The deal includes 21st Century Fox’s film and television studios, cable entertainment networks and international TV businesses and brings to Disney IPs including X-Men, Avatar, The Simpsons, FX Networks and National Geographic.

The Star in India and Fox’s 39% ownership of Sky across Europe will extend Disney’s international reach.  Prior to the transaction, 21st Century Fox is expected to seek to complete its planned acquisition of the 61% of Sky not currently under its ownership.

Synergy savings of around $2 billion are anticipated as the businesses are combined.

21st Century Fox will spin off the Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2 and Big Ten Network into a newly listed company prior to the acquisition.

The stock only deal will give shareholders of 21st Century Fox 0.2745 Disney shares for each 21st Century Fox share they hold.

Disney will assume $13.7 billion of 21st Century Fox’s net debt, making the total transaction value approximately $66.1 billion.

Commenting on the deal, Bob Iger, who is to remain Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company through 2021, said, “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.  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.”

“We are extremely proud of all that we have built at 21st Century Fox, and I firmly believe that this combination with Disney will unlock even more value for shareholders as the new Disney continues to set the pace in what is an exciting and dynamic industry,” said Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman of 21st Century Fox. “Furthermore, I’m convinced that this combination, under Bob Iger’s leadership, will be one of the greatest companies in the world. I’m grateful and encouraged that Bob has agreed to stay on, and is committed to succeeding with a combined team that is second to none.”

Image: The Walt Disney Company