Disney's £50bn takeover of Fox to become official next week

Mae Love
March 15, 2019

The massive merger will finally go into effect later this month. Like with Brazil last month, the main sticking point was Disney's putative ownership of Fox Sports given the importance of soccer rights; the combination of Fox and Disney's ESPN was also viewed warily by regulators in the US and Europe, with major agencies there requiring divestitures.

The Walt Disney Company announced Tuesday that its 71.3-billion-U.S. dollar acquisition of most of 21st Century Fox is expected to close on March 20.

Under the deal, Disney will pick up the 21st Century Fox Movie Studio, a controlling stake in streaming giant Hulu, and several cable channels. 21st Century Fox shareholders can have till Thursday to decide on the amount of money and Disney inventory to obtain, valued at $38 a share within the deal.

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The acquisition involves most of Fox's properties, including X-Men and the Simpsons, but does not include news, sports, broadcast channels or its studio lot. It added that with no extension, the full acquisition or turnover will be effective at exactly 12:02 a.m.

The Murdochs also will retain the legendary Fox Studios lot on Pico Boulevard near Century City. "Eastern Time on March 20, 2019, subject to the satisfaction or waiver of the conditions to the consummation of the Acquisition set forth in the documentation governing such transaction". And whereas the Disney-Fox deal might lastly be coming to an in-depth, it nonetheless might take years to assimilate the Fox properties and staff underneath the Disney umbrella. As in Brazil and other countries, the IFT unanimously agreed to give its green light to Disney's purchase as long as it agreed to sell Fox's 22 regional sports networks.

The consolidation of the two entertainment companies is expected to result in over 4,000 layoffs. John Landgraf, chief executive of FX Networks, will continue to lead those channels.

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