Disney Completes Acquisition of Fox

At 12:02am on the 20th of March Disney will officially acquire 21st Century Fox in a deal worth $71.3 billion. A move that could shift the power in Hollywood even more so in Disney’s favour will see many high-profile properties fall under the Disney banner and even further strengthen their catalog going forward.

Disney released the following statement in relation to the merger.

At 12:02 a.m. Eastern Time tomorrow, March 20, 2019, The Walt Disney Company’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox will become effective. With 21st Century Fox’s iconic collection of businesses and franchises, Disney will be able to provide more appealing high-quality content and entertainment options to meet growing consumer demand; increase its international footprint; and expand its direct-to-consumer offerings, which include ESPN+ for sports fans, the highly-anticipated Disney+ streaming video-on-demand service launching in late 2019; and Disney and 21st Century Fox’s combined ownership stake in Hulu.

“This is an extraordinary and historic moment for us—one that will create significant long-term value for our company and our shareholders,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “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.”

The acquisition includes 21st Century Fox’s renowned film production businesses, including Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox 2000 Pictures, Fox Family and Fox Animation; Fox’s television creative units, Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Productions and Fox21; FX Networks; National Geographic Partners; Fox Networks Group International; Star India; and Fox’s interests in Hulu, Tata Sky and Endemol Shine Group. Disney and 21st Century Fox entered into a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice last year under which Disney will divest 21st Century Fox’s Regional Sports Networks.

Earlier today, 21st Century Fox completed the spin-off of a portfolio of 21st Century Fox’s news, sports and broadcast businesses, including the FOX News Channel, FOX Business Network, FOX Broadcasting Company, FOX Sports, FOX Television Stations Group, and sports cable networks FS1, FS2, Fox Deportes and Big Ten Network, and certain other assets and liabilities, into Fox Corporation.

Click here to read a press release detailing Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox.

As part of the deal Disney will now own the rights to the most successful film of all time, James Cameron’s Avatar. Having released in 2009 Avatar went on to smash box office records and gross 2.788 billion, just over 600 million more than the previous record holder Titanic. Although we are yet to see a sequel to Avatar, Disney will now reap the full rewards of the Avatar 2 and 3 that Cameron is currently working on as well as the potential Avatar 3 and 4 that are also set to be produced.

As well as Avatar Disney will gain control of several properties that are sure to make Marvel fans happy. For many years now the movie rights to Fantastic Four and X-Men have been owned by 21st Century Fox after Marvel sold off the rights way before the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) was a thing. Fast forward 11 years and the MCU has grown to 22 films and become a global phenomenon in the process. Due to Fox owning the rights however we are yet to see Marvel’s first family, the X-Men and Deadpool interwoven into the MCU, much to fans dismay. With the acquisition now complete fans can look forward to a time, hopefully sooner rather than later, where all of our favourite characters are interacting on the big screen.

Beyond Pandora and Marvel the acquisition of Fox will give Disney control over Aliens, Predator, Die Hard, Kingsman, Planet of the Apes and Die Hard. These properties have had various degrees of success over the past few years however all of them come with huge fan bases and are recognisable brands that can continue to be lucrative given the correct time and care.

Beyond films Disney is likely to acquire Fox TV shows however many of these are yet to be confirmed as part of the deal and therefore it is unclear if properties such as The Simpsons and Family Guy will be brought over to Disney.

For Disney however the completion of this deal will continue to strengthen their portfolio, something that they have been keen to do especially with the launch of their streaming service, Disney+ set for later this year. Disney’s catalog of properties was already unparalleled with classic Disney films and animation, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars but with the inclusion of 21st Century Fox the value of Disney+ will only increase.

Will the inclusion of Fox properties onto Disney+ make the service more appealing to you? What films do you hope Disney develop first? Let me know in the comments and be sure to keep an eye out for more Disney and Fox news in the future.

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