Monday, 25 June, 2018

Disney buying large part of 21st Century Fox in $52.4B deal

PM ET Writers Write Off Disney Fox Says antitrust concerns are obvious PM ET Writers Write Off Disney Fox Says antitrust concerns are obvious
Kelvin Reese | 14 December, 2017, 14:46

Disney will issue 515 million new shares to fund the deal, which is expected to yield at least $2 billion in cost savings and add to earnings for the second fiscal year after the deal closes. To the point where 21st Century Fox suspended trading activities.

The deal includes 20th Century Fox, a cable group that includes FX Networks, National Geographic and 300-plus worldwide channels, and 22 regional sports networks.

Other assets changing hands include Fox's 30% stake in Hulu, the U.S. streaming service, in which Disney is also a shareholder. "Buying Fox would add regional sports network, would add Sky Sports, Star Sports, basically expand the ESPN problem not just in the US but globally".

Comcast, which had also looked at a possible bid, had on Tuesday said it was "no longer engaged in the review of those assets" and never submitted a definitive offer.

It's also important to spell out what Disney is not getting in the deal.

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The deal will make Rupert Murdoch, co-executive chairman of Fox, and sons James (CEO) and Lachlan (co-executive chairman), key shareholders of Disney stock.

Shares in both Disney and Fox were up almost 1 percent in premarket trading. He has already postponed his retirement from Disney three times, saying in March he was committed to leaving the company in July 2019.

The deal would mark a significant turn for Rupert Murdoch's media empire. Fox's 39% holding in Sky PLC and India's Star TV would be included in the deal as well.

Mr. Iger is buying 21st Century Fox's minority stake in Hulu, resulting in majority control of the streaming service by Disney, which previously owned 30 percent. "Furthermore, I'm convinced that this combination, under Bob Iger's leadership, will be one of the greatest companies in the world".

The deal talks between the sector giants surprised long-time Murdoch watchers as they had always seen the family as buyers rather than sellers. One of the services would provide film and television entertainment, while the other would feature sports, including Disney's ESPN service. Disney is quickly cornering the movie blockbuster market with its Marvel and Lucasfilm brands.

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