Walt Disney buys 21st Century Fox for £39 billion in historic merger

Walt Disney buys 21st Century Fox for £39 billion in historic merger
Disney has struck a deal with Rupert Murdoch (Picture: Erik Pendzich/REX/Shutterstock

Walt Disney has announced it is buying 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets for $52.4 billion (£39 billion).

In a historic Hollywood merger, Walt Disney has acquired 20th Century Fox and other entertainment and sports assets from Rupert Murdoch’s Fox.

The transaction is valued at $66.1 billion, according to Variety, with Disney assuming $13.7 billion in debt from 21st Century Fox.

Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger said: ‘The acquisition of this stellar collection of businesses from 21st Century Fox reflects the increasing consumer demand for a rich diversity of entertainment experiences that are more compelling, accessible and convenient than ever before.

Bob Iger
Bob Iger has extended his contract Picture: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

‘We’re honoured and grateful that Rupert Murdoch has entrusted us with the future of businesses he spent a lifetime building, and we’re excited about this extraordinary opportunity to significantly increase our portfolio of well-loved franchises and branded content to greatly enhance our growing direct-to-consumer offerings.

‘The deal will also substantially expand our international reach, allowing us to offer world-class storytelling and innovative distribution platforms to more consumers in key markets around the world.’

Iger has extended his contract through to 2021 as a result of the merger.

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Rupert Murdoch said: ‘We are extremely proud of all that we have built at 21st Century Fox, and I firmly believe that this combination with Disney will unlock even more value for shareholders as the new Disney continues to set the pace in what is an exciting and dynamic industry.

‘Furthermore, I’m convinced that this combination, under Bob Iger’s leadership, will be one of the greatest companies in the world. I’m grateful and encouraged that Bob has agreed to stay on, and is committed to succeeding with a combined team that is second to none.’

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