Disney and Fox finalize a deal for Fox's movie and TV assets, with the Mouse House gaining the rights to franchises like X-Men and Avatar. Two of Hollywood's largest studios are joining forces after all. Reports began to surface a few weeks ago that Fox's TV and film divisions were up for sale. At the time, it was Disney who was the first call, but initial talks fell through. There was still hope both sides would reconvene and find the right terms, but in Disney's absence, Sony, Comcast, and others began to see what it would take to make a deal.
The competition from other studios appeared to light a fire under Disney and reports then surfaced that the two sides were back in talks. Not too long after, it was revealed that talks had progressed significantly and a deal was being finalized. With Comcast dropping out of the race, this was all but assured before, but it's now officially a done deal.
Here are the official details of the Disney/Fox deal, per the press release issued by Disney:
The Walt Disney Company and Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement for Disney to acquire 21st Century Fox, including the Twentieth Century Fox Film and Television studios, along with cable and international TV businesses, for approximately $52.4 billion in stock (subject to adjustment). Building on Disney’s commitment to deliver the highest quality branded entertainment, the acquisition of these complementary assets would allow Disney to create more appealing content, build more direct relationships with consumers around the world and deliver a more compelling entertainment experience to consumers wherever and however they choose. Immediately prior to the acquisition, 21st Century Fox will separate the Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2 and Big Ten Network into a newly listed company that will be spun off to its shareholders.
Under the terms of the agreement, shareholders of 21st Century Fox will receive 0.2745 Disney shares for each 21st Century Fox share they hold (subject to adjustment for certain tax liabilities as described below). The exchange ratio was set based on a 30-day volume weighted average price of Disney stock. Disney will also assume approximately $13.7 billion of net debt of 21st Century Fox. The acquisition price implies a total equity value of approximately $52.4 billion and a total transaction value of approximately $66.1 billion (in each case based on the stated exchange ratio assuming no adjustment) for the business to be acquired by Disney, which includes consolidated assets along with a number of equity investments.
Popular Entertainment Properties to Join Disney Family
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 and are the homes of 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—and its storied television creative units, Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Productions and Fox21, which have brought The Americans, This Is Us, Modern Family, The Simpsons and so many more hit TV series to viewers across the globe. 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.
For many, the highlight of the deal is Marvel Studios getting the rights back for X-Men and all related characters. There's no word on what the deal means for Fox's previously announced X-Men slate or how Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige plans to integrate his new toys. Fox already completed production on New Mutants, Deadpool 2, and X-Men: Dark Phoenix and was gearing up for Gambit to begin production early 2018. Since Disney is inheriting these projects, it would be reasonable to assume the first three will still hit theaters as planned. However, the future for the mutants and Marvel's first family is not yet clear.
Beyond what the deal means for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this deal also brings several other properties to the Mouse House. Franchises such as Alien, Predator, Planet of the Apes, Avatar, Home Alone, Independence Day, and more are now part of Disney's IPs, while Disney also now owns The Simpsons and more on TV. Similarly to the X-Men movies that are already complete, the deal shouldn't impact too many finished Fox films, though Disney could wind up changing some release dates.
It also gives Disney significantly more projects to include on their in-development streaming service. This was said to be a major factor in Disney's initial interest in Fox to begin with, and it'll surely bolster the eventual library. Not only will the service include Disney's original films, but Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel, and Disney's live-action and animated films will be featured alongside all the properties obtained by Fox in this deal. With Disney looking to compete with Netflix, the acquisition of Fox gives them a much bigger and diverse library of content to offer subscribers.
The deal may now be official, but there's surely more updates to come for what the Disney/Fox deal means for each of those studios, Disney's upcoming streaming service, the Hollywood industry as a whole, and more. Stay tuned to Screen Rant for further updates on the merger.
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