The Walt Disney Company on Thursday agreed to buy most of the assets of the Rupert Murdoch-controlled 21st Century Fox, for $52.4 billion (nearly Rs 3.36 lakh crore), Reuters reported.
Disney will buy the film, television and international businesses, and will also take on $13.7 billion of 21st Century Fox’s net debt. Fox will keep its news and business news divisions, its broadcast stations and Fox Sports.
To complete the merger, Disney’s Chief Executive Bob Iger will extend his tenure till 2021. In March, he said he was going to retire in July 2019.
The deal comes at a time when 20th Century Fox, the historic Hollywood studio, is struggling to keep up with online sources of entertainment, including Netflix and Amazon among others.
The deal would also allow Disney to compete with tech giants such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Netflix. Disney had earlier announced that it would launch its own Netflix-like streaming services next year.
It could most likely result in 20th Century Fox downsizing, as some operations will be merged with Walt Disney Studios, while others may start making films for online distribution, The New York Times reported. Disney will get the FX and National Geographic cable networks, as well as stakes in two large television-service providers, Britain’s Sky and India’s Star, the report said.
“We’re honoured and grateful that Rupert Murdoch has entrusted us with the future of businesses he spent a lifetime building,” The New York Times quoted Iger as saying.
Fox studio was founded in 1935 and is credited with classics such as The Sound of Music and the first Star Wars movie.