Rupert Murdoch’s company could help Disney fend off digital rivals after the company sold 21st Century Fox’s film and TV Studios in a deal that cost over $52 billion dollars.
This deal applies to the movie studio 20th Century Fox, Fox-owned cable networks (including FX and National Geographic), the company’s TV production arm 20th Century Fox Television, and the company’s stakes in international networks like Star TV and Sky.
FOX reported earlier that they wanted to shed deadweight in its entertainment divisions and focus the news and sports side of its business which they consider to be the more profitable side of their business.
What this deal means for Disney is that comic book characters– The X-men and The Fantastic Four— who were previously under FOX are now back with Marvel Studios. This opens up the prospects of some of the mutants, particularly fan favourite Wolverine or Deadpool, to make an appeal in The Avengers or other Marvel Cinematic Universe projects.
This also means that Disney has more resource material for their own streaming service which they plan open as a competition with the likes of Netflix.
Beyond the Marvel titles, other titles that now belong to Disney include The Simpsons, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Avatar, Ice Age, the rebooted Planet Of The Apes and How I Met Your Mother.
The deal allows Disney to expand its content, especially for streaming services. In addition to a majority stake in Hulu that it will have once the deal closes, Disney is preparing to launch two separate streaming services, one for sports and another focusing on entertainment. And it is pulling its content from Netflix in preparation for the launch. Adding Fox’s television and movie studios and the content they own means adding to the stable of must-watch content it can offer directly to consumers — and that streaming competitors can not.
There are also important international assets involved. Fox is in the midst of a lengthy regulatory review in the United Kingdom to take over the rest of the satellite broadcaster Sky it does not already own.
In the announcement, Disney and Fox said “21st Century Fox remains fully committed to completing the current Sky offer and anticipates that, subject to the necessary regulatory consents, the transaction will close by June 30, 2018.”
Disney would then assume full ownership of Sky as long as Fox’s transaction is completed before Disney’s.
If the deal doesn’t close, then Disney will retain Fox’s current 39 percent stake of Sky “and we imagine they’ll make their own bid for the rest of it,” Murdoch said on Fox Business on Thursday.