After a bunch of speculation, it looks like the Walt Disney Company will in fact likely be acquiring 21st Century Fox if all goes to plan. The Walt Disney Company, today, announced that it has signed an amended acquisition agreement with Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. for $38 per share in cash and stock, a total price tag of $71.3 billion. It’s being reported that Fox has indeed accepted that offer.
The 21st Century Fox businesses to be acquired by Disney remain the same as under the original agreement: 21st Century Fox’s film production businesses, including Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox 2000 Pictures; Fox‘s television creative units, Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Productions and Fox21; FX Networks; National Geographic Partners; Fox Sports Regional Networks; Fox Networks Group International; Star India; and Fox’s interests in Hulu, Sky plc, and Tata Sky.
The acquisition will occur immediately after the spin-off by 21st Century Fox of the Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2 and Big Ten Network into a newly listed company referred to as New Fox. If 21st Century Fox completes its acquisition of the 61% of Sky it doesn’t already own prior to closing of the Disney acquisition, Disney would assume full ownership of Sky, including the assumption of its outstanding debt, upon closing.
The acquisition will significantly increase Disney’s international footprint and expand the content and distribution for its direct-to-consumer (DTC) offerings, which include ESPN+ for sports fans; a Disney-branded streaming video-on-demand service launching in late 2019 that will feature Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars films along with a host of exclusive original content and library titles. On top of that, as a result of the acquisition, Disney will hold a controlling stake in Hulu.
This all comes with a $71.3 billion price tag in cash and stock. The New $38-per-share acquisition gives 21st Century Fox shareholders option to elect cash or stock in the combined entity. The overall mix of consideration paid to 21st Century Fox shareholders will be approximately 50% cash and 50% stock.
Now it should be noted that just because Fox “accepted” the deal, it doesn’t mean that Fox is now selling to Disney for $71.3 billion and everything is a done deal. All this means is that the company is officially recognizing Disney’s bid as the single best offer on the table. If a better offer isn’t made, this will be the deal that moves forward. Comcast still has an opportunity to return with an even higher bid.
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