Disney acquires Fox bringing over 'X-Men', 'Deadpool', 'Avatar', 'The Simpsons' and more

It’s official: Disney is acquiring 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion (£39bn) bringing hit franchises such as X-Men, Avatar, The Simpsons, Alien, and Predator into the House of Mouse.

A press release about the deal confirmed Disney’s Bob Iger would remain as CEO of The Walt Disney Company until 2021.

Disney’s Bob Iger with Rupert Murdoch.
Disney’s Bob Iger with Rupert Murdoch.

Walt Disney has sealed a $52.4 billion (£39 billion) takeover of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets, including the group’s 39% stake in Sky, the companies have announced.

Disney boss Bob Iger said: “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.

Read more: The Simpsons predicted the Fox-Disney deal

“We’re honoured and grateful that Rupert Murdoch has entrusted us with the future of businesses he spent a lifetime building, and we’re excited about this extraordinary opportunity to significantly increase our portfolio of well-loved franchises and branded content to greatly enhance our growing direct-to-consumer offerings.”

The deal means that Marvel Studios will now be able to bring the characters of the X-Men and Fantastic Four universe, including Deadpool and Wolverine, into the world of the Avengers – the Marvel Cinematic Universe is about to go stratospheric.

From the press release: The agreement also provides Disney with the opportunity to reunite the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool with the Marvel family under one roof and create richer, more complex worlds of inter-related characters and stories that audiences have shown they love. The addition of Avatar to its family of films also promises expanded opportunities for consumers to watch and experience storytelling within these extraordinary fantasy worlds. Already, guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort can experience the magic of Pandora—The World of Avatar, a new land inspired by the Fox film franchise that opened earlier this year.

The Disney-Fox deal would see it control almost 40% of the $11bn (£8bn) annual US box office, the biggest movie market in the world, and a similar level in the UK.

Under the terms of the agreement, shareholders in 21st Century Fox will receive 0.2745 Disney shares for each Fox share. Including debt, the deal is worth a total of $66.1 billion.

Fox said that it will press ahead with attempts to buy the 61% of broadcaster Sky it does not already own before the Disney deal closes.

“We remain confident that the CMA and the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will approve the transaction on its merits, according to the statutory timeline and we continue to expect the transaction will close by June 30, 2018,” Fox said in a statement.

Click the image below for a detailed look at the big films and TV shows coming to Disney…

Disney will take control of several assets as part of the tie-up. They include Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox 2000, FX Networks, National Geographic Partners, Fox Sports Regional Networks, Fox Networks Group International, Star India and Fox’s interests in Hulu, Sky, Tata Sky and Endemol Shine Group.

“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,” said Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman of 21st Century Fox. “Furthermore, 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.”

The deal also includes Disney’s acquisition of Fox’s TV offerings including Sky “which serves nearly 23 million households in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy; Fox Networks International, with more than 350 channels in 170 countries; and Star India, which operates 69 channels reaching 720 million viewers a month across India and more than 100 other countries.”

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