Disney to buy Fox: Ready for a Netflix showdown?

Disney to buy Fox: Ready for a Netflix showdown?

Disney to buy Fox: Ready for a Netflix showdown?

Disney is buying a large part of the Murdoch family's 21st Century Fox in a $US52.4 billion deal, including film and television studios, cable and worldwide TV businesses as it tries to meet competition from technology companies in the entertainment business.

Under the deal, Disney will also acquire the Twentieth Century Fox Film and Television studios, along with cable and worldwide TV businesses, read a joint statement issued by both the studios.

As part of the deal, Disney will take on $13.7 billion (£10.2 billion) of debt, with shareholders in 21st Century Fox receiving 0.2745 Disney shares for each Fox share.

The Murdochs also retain control of the Fox broadcast network, including Fox News and Fox Sports.

Disney has yet to reveal a succession plan to replace Iger, who has now extended his contract as chairman and CEO of the studio to 2021.

And he hinted at a future role in the combined entity for 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch. The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of this station.

Fox said it will press ahead with attempts to buy the 61% of broadcaster Sky it does not already own before the Disney deal closes.

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Disney picked up Fox networks including FX and National Geographic in the sale as well as Star India's TV channels and a 39 percent stake in European satellite provider Sky Plc.

Disney is responding by launching its own streaming services and, with Fox's television and filmed assets, it will become a powerful player.

Through Fox's stake in the Hulu video streaming service, Disney would assume majority control of one of Netflix Inc's main competitors.

"This gives us the ability to marry the great content of Fox with the great content of Disney, it gives us a much larger global footprint, and it enables us to use cutting-edge technology to reach consumers in far more compelling ways", Iger told ABC's "Good Morning America" program.

There had been speculation that Fox had been pressing for a seat on the Disney board for him, putting him in place to eventually succeed Mr Iger, who was due to retire in July 2019. Disney's theme park business, which accounts for 20% of its revenues, could also expect a boost from the addition of popular Fox franchises such as the X-Men.

Disney said assuming this did complete prior to its takeover of Fox closing, it would assume full ownership of Sky.

Comcast, the United States cable titan and owner of NBC, had been interested in Fox's entertainment assets, as had Verizon, the U.S. mobile phone operator.

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