It’s official. 20th Century Fox is heading to the house of mouse.
The Walt Disney Company has officially closed its $71.3 billion acquisition of large parts of 21st Century Fox. The deal allows for Disney to enhance its already massive global reach and content portfolio ahead of the planned launch of its own streaming service, Disney+.
With the historic deal finally coming to a close, Disney, led by chairman and CEO Bob Iger, is acquiring the Fox film and TV studio, the FX networks, National Geographic, Indian TV giant Star India and Fox’s 30 percent stake in streaming service Hulu to its portfolio. Disney now holds majority ownership of Hulu at 60% (with Comcast owning 30 percent, and AT&T’s Warner Media at 10 percent).
Disney announced $2 billion in cost savings from the Fox acquisition, with industry insiders expecting between 4,000-10,000 layoffs. Fox’s Rupert Murdoch came out today and said that “generous severance packages,” will be offered to those losing their jobs.
Disney said in a regulatory filing from 2017 that the Fox assets are estimated to add about $19.3 billion in annual revenue and $1.6 billion in net income.
Under the agreement, Disney is required to sell the 22 regional sports networks in the U.S. and its sports networks in Brazil and Mexico as part of regulatory approvals in said markets. Europe approved the deal on the condition that the company agreed to sell its stakes in networks such as Lifetime and History.
The history of the deal dates back to 2017, where Disney and Fox initially reached an agreement of a $52.4 billion sale. Comcast then made a surprise bid for the assets, valued a $65.0 billion before Disney shot back with a sweetened $71.3 billion offer that led Comcast to end its pursuit of Fox.
For comic book fans, the deal means that Disney will have ownership of Fox’s Marvel characters, such as the X-Men and Fantastic Four character libraries.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, investors on Wall Street are looking to an April 11 Disney investor day to get more insight into the Disney+ plans and how they will impact financials:
“We don’t expect to learn much specific on April 11 either,” Bernstein analyst Todd Juenger said in a recent report. “Our best hope is for a) launch retail price of Disney+ in the U.S.; and b) some indication of magnitude of investment. Our stretch wish is some indication of cadence of international roll-out.”