American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate Disney is set to acquire most of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets for $52.4B.
However, Fox will retain Fox News but Disney would own the great Tv and film empires.
Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Co., said in a statement announcing the acquisition, “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,”
Disney, which owns ABC News, taking ownership of one the country’s largest movie studios from the Rupert Murdoch-controlled company is one of the biggest media deals in recent years.
While speaking on the deal, Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, said, “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.”
Iger also said that the deal will allow Disney to use “cutting-edge technology to reach consumers in far more compelling ways.” Iger said the deal grew from conversations he and Murdoch had beginning over the summer.
“He and I were musing at some point this summer about the industry and the need to reach consumers in the ways that I described and the disruptive forces that we’ve both witnessed during our time in this business,” he said. “After some musing it seemed to me there might be an opportunity to put our companies together and to create something that’s even better than the two that were separate companies.”
He added, “I think he viewed this as not only good for the assets that he had built but good for the shareholders of his company.”
Iger also stated that the newly announced deal will give Disney the technology to deliver entertainment to consumers when and how they want it. He also said that launching a direct-to-consumer service is “one of the primary priorities of the company right now.”
“We’re not really looking to necessarily reach the scale of Netflix quickly but we certainly aim to be an able competitor to theirs,” he said.
“More importantly, we believe this is the wave of the future, to be able to reach consumers directly. There’s clearly a value proposition associated with that but it’s also something that consumers want because in doing so you can tailor the offering to consumers in far more customized ways, more personalized ways.”
Also, going by reports Fox is looking to shed what it views as deadweight in its entertainment divisions in order to focus on the far more profitable news and sports sides of its business. As such, the company is keeping control of the Fox broadcast network, Fox Sports, and the Fox News and Fox Business brands.
As part of the deal, Disney will now take ownership of the company’s vast assortments of intellectual property. This implies that comic book characters like the X-Men and Fantastic Four are now back under the directorship of Marvel Studios and characters like Wolverine or Deadpool will cross over into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The deal also means that Disney finally controls the rights to the original Star Wars film (also known as Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope), which Fox has previously owned full distribution rights to in perpetuity, along with the home video distribution rights for Episodes II through IV (which were originally supposed to revert to Disney in 2020.)
Also the deal affords Disney leverage to compete with Netflix in the streaming service sector with larger catalog of shows and TV series that it could feasibly offer exclusively on its service.
The Avatar series, Alien movies, The Simpsons, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, How I Met Your Mother, Futurama, Firefly, and The X-Files are other franchises that now belong to Disney.
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