Disney gains control of X-Men, Avatar, more with 21st Century Fox acquisition

15 Dec 2017 | Rasmus Larsen |

Disney has confirmed that it will acquire 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion dollars. As part of the deal, comes popular franchises such X-Men, Avatar and The Simpsons as well as the TV networks National Geographic and Sky.

Big-6 becomes Big-5

21st Century Fox will spin off Fox Broadcasting but the rest will be acquired by The Walt Disney Company. If the deal gets approved, Big-6 becomes Big-5 in Hollywood.

Disney CEO Bob Iger has over the last 11 years acquired Pixar, Lucasfilm and Marvel, which has given Disney the rights to Toy Story, Monsters Inc, Avengers, and of course Star Wars. The latest acquisition is in a totally different league and it will give Disney control over a range of rights and networks as well as film studio 20th Century Fox, including franchises such as Avatar, X-Men and Fantastic Four.

Disney will also own the rights to The Simpsons and The X-Files, and own TV networks such as National Geographic, Sky, and Star TV. In addition, it will control a majority stake (60%) in streaming service Hulu. Furthermore, Disney will gain full rights to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, which means that the company now controls the entire Star Wars franchise.

- “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,” said Robert A. Iger, CEO Disney.

Disney has agreed to pay $52.4 billion dollars in an all-stock deal.

- “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,” said Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman of 21st Century Fox.

As a side note, 20th Century Fox is the only Big-6 Hollywood studio not to release movies in Dolby Vision HDR format for home releases. The company has entered into an alliance with Samsung and Panasonic to promote the HDR10+ format as an alternative to Dolby Vision. That may change after Disney gains control.


Will benefit consumers

Disney believes that the deal will benefit consumers around the world as it provides them 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”.

The company has already build a “Pandora – The World of Avatar” land at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Disney has announced that it will launch a new streaming service in 2019 to challenge Netflix’s dominance in the space. It will include the back catalog of movies and TV series as well as upcoming productions, including a new Star Wars trilogy and a new Star Wars TV series. In addition, the company is producing a TV series based on the Monsters Inc. universe. 21st Century Fox’s line-up of content will be a strong addition to the catalog. An additional four Avatar movies are in the pipeline.

The parties expect the deal to close by June 2018, subject to the regulatory approval.

- Source: Disney

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