Fox to sell film and TV assets to Disney

Chelsea West
December 14, 2017

21st Century Fox will also spin off Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News, Fox Business, and other assets to its shareholders. Iger will continue as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company through the end of calendar year 2021, at the request of both firms. Fox will retain Fox News, its basic broadcast network and its national sports channels.

Either way, if Disney ultimately inherits the Sky stake after the CMA has blocked the deal now being pursued by the Murdochs, Disney can simply use the 39% shareholding to launch another full bid for Sky.

In a long-rumored deal, Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) on Thursday made it official: The Mouse is acquiring The Fox. Fox shareholders are expected to end up with about a 25 percent stake in Disney, with the Murdoch family trust owning around 5 percent, according to Bloomberg estimates.

Earlier, the Financial Times had reported Fox CEO James Murdoch, son of Rupert Murdoch, had been "suggested" during talks as a possible successor to Iger when he eventually retires.

The deal announcement comes amid considerable interest for Fox from not just Disney, but also the likes of Comcast and Verizon.

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The deal would mark a significant turn for Rupert Murdoch's media empire.

Also included in the deal are Fox's USA cable networks including FX and the National Geographic Channel as well as India's Star TV.

The deal talks between the sector giants surprised long-time Murdoch watchers as they had always seen the family as buyers rather than sellers.

By super-sizing its library of intellectual property, Disney may be able to more easily brush off concerns surrounding subscriber losses at its media networks unit, in particular at premium sports cable network ESPN. Disney is quickly cornering the movie blockbuster market with its Marvel and Lucasfilm brands.

It said Fox remained "fully committed to completing the current Sky offer" which is anticipated to be completed by June 30, 2018, at which point Disney would "assume full ownership of Sky".

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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