Now that the Walt Disney Company’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox is complete, Fox Entertainment — a unit of the newly formed, non-Disneyfied Fox Corp. — marked its “new chapter” with a one-time promotional video. Aired Wednesday at 8:32 p.m. ET, the 90-second trailer featured some of Fox’s most prominent television properties, past and present.
The ripple effects may not become clear for years. Analysts say that Disney could force smaller studios to merge as they scramble to compete. It will have greater leverage over theater owners when it comes to box office splits. And Disney’s plans to use Fox content to forcefully move into streaming could slow the growth of Netflix. “This deal definitely reshapes the landscape,” said Michael Nathanson, a leading media analyst.
The demise of 20th Century Fox as a standalone studio is an epochal event in Hollywood, one that casts long shadows over a movie industry grappling with new digital competitors from Silicon Valley and facing the possibility of further contraction.
It’s finally complete. Disney closed its $71 billion acquisition of Fox’s entertainment assets on Wednesday, more than a year after the mega merger was proposed . Disney gets far ranging properties ranging from Fox’s film studios, including “Avatar” and X-Men, to its TV productions such as “The Simpsons” and networks including National Geographic.
The deal for Fox’s entertainment businesses is likely to shake up the media landscape. Among other things, it paves the way for Disney to launch its streaming service, Disney Plus, due out later this year. It will also likely lead to layoffs in the thousands, thanks to duplication in Fox and Disney film-production staff.
A new era for the Murdoch clan and the media business begins with the debut of Fox Corp. on Tuesday, a day before Disney completes its acquisition of 21st Century Fox. The new-model Fox will begin trading Tuesday on the NASDAQ under the FOXA symbol. On Tuesday, 21st Century Fox will initiate a complex transfer of the Fox Corp. assets — primarily Fox News, Fox Sports, and Fox Broadcasting — to the newly created Fox Corp.
Thirty-four years ago, Rupert Murdoch showed up in Hollywood with $250 million, buying a stake in the 20th Century Fox film studio – even though he had little interest in making movies. The scrappy Australian newsman, then known for his clamorous tabloids, was viewed with suspicion. Skeptics assumed he was a corporate raider intent on stripping value from the studio. Instead, Murdoch rescued a threadbare operation from financial ruin and turned it into the centerpiece of a growing empire that has reshaped the entertainment industry. Now, Murdoch is dismantling his life’s work: a kingdom worth more than $100 billion.
Disney has set a March 20 closing date for the acquisition of 21st Century Fox. The date was included in a release in which Disney indicated that the company has received the last major approval for the deal from regulators in Mexico. According to Disney, 21st Century Fox shareholders will have until Thursday to choose the amount of cash and Disney stock to receive in the $71.3 billion transaction.
Walt Disney Co.’s entertainment kingdom is about to get a whole lot bigger thanks to its pending purchase of 21st Century Fox assets, and the rest of Hollywood has only just begun to grapple with the consequences of the company’s increasing power.
Disney CEO Bob Iger said that the company “chose to deal with privately” with the past incidents of current Disney employees Jimmy Kimmel and Joy Behar darkening their skin, both of which have resurfaced in recent months. Those issues were brought up at Disney’s annual shareholder meeting on Thursday.