It’s the deal that been rocking the rumor mill over the past couple of months and it’s finally come to head. On Thursday morning it was announced that Disney would be buying a huge chunk of 21st Century Fox in a $52.4 billion deal that they’re promising will reshape the media industry and compete against rising digital video giants such as Netflix.
Disney and Fox are two of the biggest companies in Hollywood and the merger is guaranteed to cause a significant amount of shake-ups in movie, television, and industry jobs. Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger has extended his contract for another two years to the end of 2021, in order to oversee the merger.
“The acquisition of this stellar collection of businesses from 21st Century Fox reflects the increasing consumer demand for a rich diversity of entertainment experiences that are more compelling, accessible and convenient than ever before. 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 and branded content to greatly enhance our growing direct-to-consumer offerings. 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,” Iger said in a statement.
Bog Iger (left) and Robert Murdoch (right) Photo Credit: Disney
In a statement of his own Robert Murdoch had this to say about the next chapter for the entertainment empire that he had spent his entire career building.
“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.”
The most buzzed-about factor of the impending deal in recent weeks has been revolving around Marvel. 20th Century Fox has had the rights to make movies for popular Marvel characters such as X-Men and Deadpool and The Fantastic Four, and now these characters are under the complete control of Disney and could even make their way into the Avengers films. In addition to this, Disney also now has the Avatar and Planet of the Apes franchises as well as television shows such as Modern Family, The X-Files, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and The Simpsons. Fox also controlled the rights to first Star Wars film Star Wars: A New Hope, so now that has found its way to Disney as well. In addition to Disney acquiring 21st Century Fox’s movie studio and regional sports networks, it will also own both FX and National Geographic and receive Fox’s stakes in Hulu and Sky.
CSS insight analyst Paolo Pescatore told BBC,
The move will firmly establish Disney as one of the leading media companies in the world and puts it in a great position to compete head on with the threat posed by the web providers such as Amazon and Facebook.
With these huge-name additions and an even larger international presence, Disney now has enough muscle to be a valid competitor in the online video realm, which has been dominated by Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Hulu, and Google as of late. Disney also announced their own streaming site earlier this year that will certainly help get them a leg up. While there’s still a lot of change yet to come, the merger is a historic deal and is sure to bring a lot of exciting yet important change to the entertainment industry.
This story is developing.