Disney buys Fox TV, film studios as part of major $52B deal

The Walt Disney Co. announced Thursday it will acquire entertainment assets from 21st Century Fox in a deal worth $52.4 billion. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

By Doug G. Ware – UPI

The Walt Disney Company announced Thursday it will acquire entertainment assets from 21st Century Fox in a deal worth more than $52 billion in stock.

As part of the all-stock purchase, Disney will acquire the 20th Century Fox film and television conglomerate and assume nearly $14 billion in Fox debt.

The total value of 21st Century Fox’s assets is estimated at $66.1 billion, Disney said.

Twenty-first Century Fox was established in 2013 in a spinoff venture by Australian businessman Rupert Murdoch‘s News Corporation.

Disney announced the major deal in a transaction call Thursday morning.

“We’re honored and grateful that Rupert Murdoch has entrusted us with the future of businesses he spent a lifetime building, and we’re excited about this extraordinary opportunity to significantly increase our portfolio of well-loved franchises,” Disney CEO Robert A. Iger said in a statement. “The deal will also substantially expand our international reach, allowing us to offer world-class storytelling and innovative distribution platforms to more consumers in key markets around the world.”

Under the agreement, the Fox Broadcasting Network and its stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Sports 1 and 2, the Big Ten Network and Fox’s Hollywood film lot will spin off into a separate company, which is expected to have revenues totaling about $10 billion.

“I firmly believe that this combination with Disney will unlock even more value for shareholders,” Murdoch said. “I’m convinced that this combination … will be one of the greatest companies in the world.”

Also as part of the deal, Iger will remain Disney chairman and CEO through the end of 2021.

Disney said it expects to save about $2 billion within two years through the combination of overlapping businesses with Fox.