In one of the biggest deals ever made in the entertainment industry, Disney buys a major hunk of 21st Century Fox which had been long rumoured in the past. A deal of such colossal proportions is set to reshape the media industry and compete with digital rivals like Netflix and Amazon.
The $66.1 billion deal buyout- paid with $52.4 billion worth of Disney stocks and the responsibility of the previous debts of Fox includes 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox 2000, 20th Century Fox Television, FX Productions, Fox21, FX Networks, National Geographic Partners, Fox Sports Regional Networks, Fox Networks Group International, and Star India. It also takes over Fox’s stake in Hulu, Sky, and Endemol Shine Group.
21st Century Fox will separate Fox broadcasting network, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, and some national sports network into a new network, which will then be spun off to other shareholders.
Disney has given much importance to popular sports channel ESPN, which has been witnessing rapid decline in viewership over the years as cable TV is facing a massive challenge from streaming services like Amazon and Netflix. With the two behemoths of Hollywood finally coming together, there might be a chance for old school cable TV and movies to bounce back.
This deal will allow Disney to expand its horizons. Disney is preparing to launch two new streaming services, along with owning a majority stake of streaming service Hulu. The two new streaming services are aimed for sports and entertainment exclusively. Also, Disney will be pulling out its creative properties from Netflix for its next big launch of streaming services. With the two major players in Hollywood joining their forces, it will be an insurmountable task for other streaming services in terms of providing content to the consumers.
Combining with Disney are 21st Century Fox’s critically acclaimed film production businesses, including Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox 2000, which together offer diverse and compelling storytelling businesses and are the homes of Avatar, X-Men and Deadpool, as well as The Grand Budapest Hotel, Hidden Figures, Gone Girl, The Shape of Water and The Martian—and its storied television creative units, Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Productions and Fox21, which have brought The Americans, This Is Us, Modern Family, The Simpsons and so many more hit TV series to viewers across the globe.
The deal will now also grant the rights of the original Star Wars to Disney, which will be a major addition to its bloated catalog of franchises. While the deal between the two juggernauts is a welcome news for a lot of fans (mostly Marvel), filmmakers have been dubious about this deal. The simple reason being it grants enormous power to one company, which actually has the resources to influence the industry according to its will. While previous acquisitions made by Disney have been highly successful so far, it’s still a possibility that Disney can exhort 21st Century Fox to create more streamlined content which can gel easily with the current properties of Disney.
Fox’s previous stints with the X-Men and the Fantastic Four has been a hit and miss for most of the part. Apart from some sparks of brilliance, Fox’s take on the mutants and Marvel’s first family has been a major failure. But recently, Fox produced Logan and Deadpool, two R-Rated movies which have shattered records worldwide. Only time can tell what the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its founder Kevin Feige have in store for the fans. It will not be a walk in the park to inculcate a R-Rated Deadpool and a gore filled Wolverine in the current MCU, which has mostly been PG-13 for now.
In the press conference, Rupert Murdoch’s son James Murdoch, the current CEO of Fox has praised Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of Walt Disney for his vision and expertise. It’s expected that Iger is here to stay till 2021.
Surprisingly, Disney still hasn’t gotten its hands on Fantastic Four, which was rumoured to be introduced in Phase 4 of MCU. The distribution rights lies with Constantin Pictures, which is a major obstacle between MCU and Fantastic Four.
In a statement of his own, Murdoch said, “I’m convinced that this combination, under Bob Iger’s leadership, will be one of the greatest companies in the world. I’m grateful and encouraged that Bob has agreed to stay on, and is committed to succeeding with a combined team that is second to none.”