Disney completes $71.3 billion acquisition of Fox assets

The Walt Disney Company has completed its US$71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s film and television assets. With the deal closed, Disney will now shift a number of 21st Century ...
March 20, 2019

The Walt Disney Company has completed its US$71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s film and television assets.

With the deal closed, Disney will now shift a number of 21st Century Fox’s assets into its portfolio, including Fox’s film and television studios including 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight Pictures; a stable of cable networks including FX, National Geographic, Fox Networks Group International and Star India, among others; and Fox’s stakes in European satcaster Sky and SVOD service Hulu, as well as a 50% stake in Endemol Shine Group.

In accordance with a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice, Disney will divest in Fox’s regional sports networks.

“This is an extraordinary and historic moment for us – one that will create significant long-term value for our company and our shareholders,” said Bob Iger (pictured), chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company, in a statement. “Combining Disney’s and 21st Century Fox’s wealth of creative content and proven talent creates the preeminent global entertainment company, well positioned to lead in an incredibly dynamic and transformative era.”

Disney took possession of 21st Century Fox’s assets at 12:02 a.m. ET on Wednesday (March 20). The Burbank media conglomerate’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s businesses and franchises will allow Disney to offer a range of high-quality content and entertainment options to meet growing consumer demand while also increasing its international footprint and its direct-to-consumer offerings, which includes its anticipated SVOD service, Disney+, launching later this year.

The two media organizations said at the effective time of the acquisition that the per-share value of the merger has been set at $51.572626, meaning that each share of 21st Century Fox common stock will be exchanged for $51.572626 in cash or 0.4517 shares of common stock of the holding company that will own both Disney and Fox assets following the acquisition.

Disney is also acquiring nearly $19.8 billion of cash and assuming approximately $19.2 billion of debt from 21st Century Fox.

The acquisition is expected to be additive to Disney’s earnings per share ahead of the impact of purchase accounting for the second fiscal year after the close of the transaction. It is expected the merger is to return at least $2 billion in cost synergies by 2021 from operating efficiencies realized through the combination of businesses.

Twenty-First Century Fox announced Tuesday (March 19) that it had completed the distribution of shares to launch the Fox Corporation as a standalone company. Fox Corp. now consists primarily of Fox’s news, sports and broadcast businesses, including Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Broadcasting, Fox Sports, Fox Television Stations Group, and sports cable networks FS1, FS2, Fox Deportes and Big Ten Network.

The initially acquisition was approved by shareholders of both companies in July 2018.

(With files from Barry Walsh)

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.