WALT DISNEY CO BUYS OUT 21 CENTURY FOX FOR 71.3 BILLION

The news that Walt Disney Co. has officially acquired the entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox for $71.3 billion in one of the biggest media consolidations in Hollywood history.

The long-anticipated deal gives Disney ownership of film and TV franchises including “X-Men,” “Deadpool” and “The Simpsons.” It is the boldest and riskiest in a series of acquisitions orchestrated by CEO Bob Iger since he took the job 14 years ago.

This news comes on the same day the remaining assets of Rupert Murdoch’s company, including Fox News and the Fox broadcast network, were spun off into a new company called Fox Corp. that will count former House Speaker Paul Ryan among its board members.

“This is an extraordinary and historic moment for us — one that will create significant long-term value for our company and our shareholders,” Iger said in a statement Tuesday.
Analysts say the consolidation highlights massive shifts that are underway in media.
“This is a game changer for the industry,” Jessica Reif Ehrlich, media analyst at Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch, said in an interview. “When the Murdochs decided to sell Fox, the entire industry was turned upside down. The message was: ‘You either need to get bigger — or get out.’”
Iger sought the Fox assets to fortify Disney against the onslaught from the north. Technology giants with mounds of cash — Netflix Inc., Google Inc., Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. — have attracted millions of customers to their streaming services.

With the landmark purchase of Fox assets, Disney, already valued at $168 billion, is poised to be an even bigger force in Hollywood. Disney is taking over Fox’s movie and TV production studios and the rights to such valuable properties as “Avatar,” “Ice Age,” “Modern Family” and “The Simpsons.” The owner of ESPN and ABC also scoops up the FX and National Geographic channels, a controlling stake in streaming service Hulu and Fox’s international television portfolio.
“This is an extraordinary and historic moment for us — one that will create significant long-term value for our company and our shareholders,” Iger said in a statement Tuesday.
Analysts say the consolidation highlights massive shifts that are underway in media.
“This is a game changer for the industry,” Jessica Reif Ehrlich, media analyst at Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch, said in an interview. “When the Murdochs decided to sell Fox, the entire industry was turned upside down. The message was: ‘You either need to get bigger — or get out.’”
Iger sought the Fox assets to fortify Disney against the onslaught from the north. Technology giants with mounds of cash — Netflix Inc., Google Inc., Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. — have attracted millions of customers to their streaming services.
So great is the threat that Murdoch opted to sell much of his empire. And the 68-year-old Iger — who is 20 years younger than Murdoch — seized the opportunity to bulk up Disney. But it is not certain that Iger can seamlessly integrate the cultures of two very different companies — or whether Disney will be as formidable a competitor as it takes on the streaming giants that have upended the industry.
“Bob is playing the game to win,” said Laura Martin, media analyst at Needham & Co. “But he’s taking a $71-billion risk with Disney shareholder money.”

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