After more than a year of legal wrangling, asset maneuvering, and even some international intrigue, Disney’s deal to acquire a sizable chunk of Fox assets is finally official. If it feels like it’s been a long process, that’s because it has; the acquisition was initially announced all the way back in December of 2017.
Since then, a variety of regulatory hurdles both in the United States and abroad, as of around midnight last night Disney took possession of Fox assets in exchange for $71 billion.
Disney took possession of 21st Century Fox at 12:02 a.m. ET. Assets changing hands in the deal include: Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox 2000 Pictures, Fox Family, and Fox Animation; Fox’s television creative units, Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Productions, and Fox21; FX Networks; National Geographic Partners; Fox Networks Group International; Star India; and Fox’s interests in Hulu, Tata Sky, and Endemol Shine Group.
Disney emphasized that the transaction is designed to help the company “increase its international footprint” and “expand its direct-to-consumer offerings.”
Disney CEO Bob Iger weighed in earlier in the day:
“This is an extraordinary and historic moment for us — one that will create significant long-term value for our company and our shareholders,” Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon. “Combining Disney’s and 21st Century Fox’s wealth of creative content and proven talent creates the preeminent global entertainment company, well positioned to lead in an incredibly dynamic and transformative era.”
There are obviously a wide array of effects here, from what happens to Fox’s network of RSNs (which now must be sold within 90 days) to Fox probably turning even harder towards sports rights, but as with any story that plays out over 15 months, the biggest relief comes from the fact that it’s over. There will be plenty of time to analyze the full impact, but for now, the key is this: Disney has a lot more asset inventory, and Fox has $71 billion.