This morning, The Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox made it official. After weeks of rumors, they announced a deal that will bring Fox’s entertainment assets to Disney and spin off the news and some sports assets of Fox into a new company. Here are five things you need to know.
1. The Fox News Channel is not going to Disney … The Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox Television Stations Group, and the national sports cable networks FS1, FS2, Fox Deportes, and the Big Ten Network will be spun off into a new company. Some conservatives were concerned that Fox News would be brought into the ABC News fold. This is not happening. Some analysts believe that the “new Fox” will eventually be folded in with News Corp, which split with Fox in 2013. That was not confirmed today.
2. $52.4 billion all stock deal … Disney announced in its press release that the terms of the agreement call for shareholders of 21st Century Fox to receive 0.2745 Disney shares for each 21st Century Fox share they hold. In addition to the stock transaction, Disney will assume roughly $13.7 billion of debt owed by Fox. This produces a total transaction value of around $66.1 billion.
3. Return of Marvel properties … Prior to Disney acquiring Marvel, Marvel had sold rights to many of its franchises to different movie studios. Fox held the rights to the X-Men and Deadpool, along with the distribution rights to the Fantastic Four. Marvel fans have long wished that Disney would be able to bring all Marvel properties under its control and incorporate them into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Disney reports that this deal will bring those three properties back into the fold.
4. Scripted television properties … While the Fox broadcast network will remain with the “new Fox,” the scripted television library shown on that network and others will move to Disney. According to its press release, Disney will acquire the rights to such television shows as “Modern Family” and “The Simpsons.” Disney also acquires FX Networks, National Geographic, and a host of foreign media properties.
5. Digital network is the jewel … Disney has been developing a digital network to host its content. Disney movies, Star Wars, and Marvel properties will all reportedly be offered on this digital network. This deal gives Disney majority control of Hulu, which brings significant infrastructure and technology to that effort.
Finally, it is not surprising that this deal would be announced on the day that “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is released in theaters. Fox still holds the distribution rights to the original 1977 “Star Wars.” Today marks the beginning of a homecoming of sorts for that film, since Disney already owns Lucasfilm.
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