Disney Announces $52.4 Billion Acquisition of 21st Century Fox

You’ve probably already heard the chatter, but now the deal is done. Disney is buying 21st Century Fox, or at least most of it, for $52.4 billion in stock.

By any standard, this is a huge development in the world of entertainment. For its investment, Disney will gain the vast majority of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire. This includes the venerable studio, 20th Century Fox as well as Fox’s TV division, which produces “The Simpsons,” “American Horror Story” and “Homeland” among other shows.

Notably, the White House has confirmed that the President gave his blessing to the sale after being assured by Rupert Murdoch that Fox News would not be part of the deal with Disney. Also not included in the Disney package are the Fox broadcast network and FS1 (a cable sports channel). Those businesses will be spun off my Murdoch.

It is expected that the merger of the companies will result in layoffs as the two media and entertainment behemoths eliminate redundant positions and operations.

The payoff here is that Disney gains a lot of streamable content, and Fox’s stake in Hulu is surely of interest to a company looking to take on Netflix, Amazon and Google for a big piece of the streaming media pie.

On the movie side, the studio that brought Mickey Mouse to the world gains some flagship franchises such as Avatar and X-Men, as well as adding Ice Age and Planet of the Apes movies to its stable. Disney even gains the rights to the original Star Wars: A New Hope, which Fox held in perpetuity (Disney owns Lucasfilm).

Interestingly, according to the New York Times, this deal will bring female executive talent to Disney, a company that is run by men. For example, per the Times article, 20th Century Fox is run by Stacey Snider, with Emma Watts serving as vice chair. Fox TV Group is led by Dana Walden, Courtney Monroe is CEO of National Geographic and Nancy Utley is president of Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Anyhow, there’s a lot to unpack in this news and I’m curious what your take is, so please leave a comment.