Rupert Murdoch's 2st Century Fox has agreed to sell its entertainment assets to Disney in a $66bn (£49bn) deal that 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.
While the marriage raises some troubling questions, it will certainly please film fans as the X-Men characters are now free to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe in future movies.
“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 honoured 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.”