Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox agreed to sell its entertainment businesses to Walt Disney in a monumental $66 billion deal, which will make Disney the world’s largest media company if the deal is approved by regulators. It stands to add Fox’s 39% stake in the European network Sky, as well as the 21st Century movie studio to Disney’s already enormous media portfolio that include popular franchises such as Marvel, Lucasfilm, ESPN, and the news broadcasting network ABC.
Disney will pay $52.4bn in stock and assume $13.7bn of debt under the deal. Shareholders of 21st Century Fox will receive 0.2745 Disney shares for each 21st Century Fox share they hold. Bob Iger, Disney’s CEO, has extended his contract until 2021.
“We’re honoured and grateful that Rupert Murdoch has entrusted us with the future of businesses he spent a lifetime building,” Iger said, adding that the deal would “significantly increase our portfolio of well-loved franchises and branded content to greatly enhance our growing direct-to-consumer offerings”.
Mr Murdoch said: “I’m convinced that this combination, under Bob Iger’s leadership, will be one of the greatest companies in the world. I’m grateful and encouraged that Bob has agreed to stay on, and is committed to succeeding with a combined team that is second to none.”
For the comic-book nerds out there, expect a few big twists in the next Marvel movies. Perhaps we’ll finally get to hear the word “mutant” in Avengers: Infinity War.