Official: Disney Buying 21st Century Fox Film Assets

Disney is buying buying large portions of 21st Century Fox holdings in a deal worth $52.4 billion. Among those holdings are Fox’s film and TV studio, the National Geographic and FX cable channels business, regional sports networks, international networks including Star India, Fox’s 30 percent stake in Hulu and its 39 percent stake in European pay TV provider Sky.

Fox will retain control of its cable news and sports outlets as well as the famed 53-acre Fox Studios located on Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles. There is no word as to what the company will be doing with the property recently evaluated to be worth $445 million. A report in Deadline yesterday suggested that 21st Century will most likely use it as a studio for its remaining cable operations as locals would be resistant to the land being developed for more commercial means.

The agreement still has to go through a lengthy regulatory review and closing process which could take anywhere between 12 and 18 months to complete.

Rumors of the sale began circulating last month and have been gaining intensity ever since.

Disney (via the Hollywood Reporter) stated that the acquisition would generate a cost savings of at least $2 billion –

[F]rom efficiencies realized through the combination of businesses, and to be accretive to earnings before the impact of purchase accounting for the second fiscal year after the close of the transaction.

Among those “cost savings” will likely be the layoff of studio personnel made redundant by the merger as well as those working for any Fox outlet that will likely get shuttered as Disney strips it for just its assets. One of the presumed drivers of the deal has been Disney acquiring Fox’s film library to bolster their own for their own streaming service currently under construction.

It remains to be seen if the individual studios under the Fox brand such as 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight will continue to operate under the overall Disney corporate umbrella or if they will be dissolved. The comment about Cost savings suggest that at least in part some components are for the chopping block. This statement from Disney offers a mixed message –

Combining with Disney are 21st Century Fox’s critically acclaimed film production businesses, including Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox 2000, which together offer diverse and compelling storytelling businesses and are the homes of Avatar, X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool, as well as The Grand Budapest Hotel, Hidden Figures, Gone Girl, The Shape of Water and The Martian — and its storied television creative units, Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Productions and Fox21, which have brought The Americans, This Is Us, Modern Family, The Simpsons and so many more hit TV series to viewers across the globe.

Previously, we have reported on why the merger would be a bad one for films in general. Some comic book movie fans have expressed excitement over the film and TV rights to certain Marvel Comics properties that Fox owns getting to move back to Marvel Studios. However, we don’t feel that that outweighs the potential loss of jobs and the diversity of the types of films being made if this deal is seen through to its closing.

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About Rich Drees 7174 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty-five years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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