After much of speculations, Rupert Murdoch owned 2st Century Fox has agreed to sell its entertainment assets to Disney for $66bn (£49bn). Touted as one of the game-changing deals of the entertainment industry, this deal will see Murdoch reshape his empire as Disney takes on a 39 per cent stake in Sky. The tycoon and his family will take a 4.25 per cent stake in Disney, including assets in the 20th Century Fox film studio and a controlling stake in Britain’s biggest pay-TV broadcaster and a number of cable channels. Murdoch will retain control of profitable right-wing news network Fox News. The Competition and Markets Authority will continue to investigate the deal as a Murdoch-brokered takeover, pending Fox’s Sky stake officially changing hands. “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,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “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.” What this deal means to Disney? This acquisition will complement and enhance The Walt Disney Company’s ability to provide consumers around the world with more appealing content and entertainment options, thus strengthening its position. The transaction that includes 21st Century Fox’s film and television studios, cable entertainment networks and international TV businesses, will result in the addition of popular entertainment properties including Avatar, X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool, as well as The Grand Budapest Hotel, Hidden Figures, Gone Girl, The Shape of Water and The Martian, The Simpsons, FX Networks and National Geographic to Disney’s portfolio. This would also mean an addition of extensive international properties, including Star in India and Fox’s 39% ownership of Sky across Europe, enhances Disney’s position as a truly global entertainment company with world-class offerings in key regions. Combining with Disney are 21st Century Fox’s critically acclaimed film production businesses, including Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox 2000, which together offer diverse and compelling storytelling businesses. Disney will also acquire FX Networks, National Geographic Partners, Fox Sports Regional Networks, Fox Networks Group International, Star India and Fox’s interests in Hulu, Sky plc, Tata Sky and Endemol Shine Group.
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