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Disney to acquire 21st Century Fox assets

The rumoured Disney takeover of 21st Century Fox was publicly confirmed last night with a US$52.4 billion stock-only deal that will see most of Fox’s movie and television assets become part of the Disney empire.

A new company, provisionally named ‘New Fox’, will be spun off to hold most of the company’s sports and news assets including Fox News, Fox Broadcasting and the US cable and TV assets.

Rupert Murdoch: “We are extremely proud of all that we have built at 21st Century Fox”

The deal, which has been months in the making, will see Disney take over Fox’s assets including the National Geographic Channels, Star India and the UK Sky Plc assets which Fox also announced overnight it will acquire in a separate £11.7 billion deal.

Disney will also acquire film studio 21st Century Fox Film, television production studios 20th Century Fox Television and a 50% ownership interest in Endemol Shine Group.

Along with Fox News, the ‘New Fox’ company will include the FOX Television Stations Group which owns 28 stations in 17 US markets along with the FS1, FS2 and Big Ten sports cable networks.

21st Century Fox shareholders will receive 0.2745 Disney shares per existing share as part of the deal, valuing the company at around $69b.

New Fox is expected to have annual revenue of approximately $10b and EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) of $2.8b, according to results from fiscal 2017.

Disney said in a statement the most attractive part of the acquisition is movie assets. Disney’s Marvel Films previously held the film rights to X-Men, however it sold them to Fox in the 1990s. X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool will now return to the hands of Disney.

The statement said: “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.”

Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, said: “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.”

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