Two days ago, Heidi posted a great write-up full of analysis from across various outlets about what the then impending Disney purchase of 20th Century Fox meant for the entertainment industry. It’s a good piece well worth reading.

I, of course, now return briefly with the news that the deal is done, at least the announcement stage. Per Variety here are the big components:

  • The deal values the 21st Century Fox assets in the transaction at $66.1 billion, including $13.7 billion in 21st Century Fox debt, or $28 a share. The enterprise value of the deal is $69 billion.
  • Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger has extended his contract with the company for another two years, through the end of 2021, in order to oversee the integration of the assets.
  • 21st Century Fox shareholders will receive 0.2745 Disney shares for each Fox share held, giving Fox shareholders about 25% of Disney.
  • 21st Century Fox will spinoff Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox Sports, Fox News, Fox Television Stations and a handful of other assets into a new company that will have revenue of $10 billion and earnings of about $2.8 billion. The 20th Century Fox lot in Century City will also remain with the spinoff Fox company.
  • 21st Century Fox will continue to pursue its acquisition of the remaining 61% stake in Euro satcaster Sky that it does not already own with the intention of Disney taking it over when the Disney-Fox transaction is completed.
  • Disney expects to realize $2 billion in cost savings from combining Disney and Fox’s overlapping businesses within two years of the deal’s closing.
  • Disney expects the regulatory review of the acquisition to take as long as 18 months.

Of course, putting aside television consideration (and the future direction of a great producer of programming like FX), the big interest here for the comics crowd is that indeed the X-Men (including Deadpool) and the Fantastic Four, and all their key allies and antagonists are coming home under the Marvel Studios banner. It’s been relatively clear that Kevin Feige and company have remained mum about Phase 4, likely in anticipation for this deal and the effect it will have on their ongoing slate of films.

I’m certain they will not be able to resist the marketing hook of Phase 4/Fantastic Four.

But that also opens up a question regarding what happens with the existing cast of Fox’s already in-production X-Men films. Will their most currently successful star, Ryan Reynolds, stay on-board as Deadpool? What about the entire crew of the upcoming Dark Phoenix feature? Admittedly, Disney has a much easier out there, since those movies all take place in the past (likely the one benefit of that period piece direction that really never quite worked after First Class), so they could just presume any new actors they cast are the older versions of these same characters.

Or they could just ignore it all, just as likely. The Fantastic Four bit is more exciting, beyond its cinematic implications, in that it will surely coerce Marvel the publisher to *finally* bring that title back, and re-position the Inhumans back to their proper spot as a supporting player in that franchise and less of a replacement X-Men.

It’s going to take more than a year for the deal to complete, so you won’t magically start seeing hints of anything by Infinity War, but its sequel? That seems a safe bet.

Also, through this purchase, the likelihood of Star Wars fans getting an unaltered original trilogy just went up a whole heck of a lot.

I will admit some wistfulness though, as was discussed in the comments of Heidi’s previous article, the potential for losing a creator/distributor of strong dramas in Fox Searchlight is a worrying proposition. Disney has a terrible track-record for more prestigious fare – it’s really their Achilles heel in some respect, but perhaps they’ll keep those pieces in place and become a major end of year awards player. Or this could be the opportunity for the A24’s and even the Neon’s of the world to take up a bigger chunk of that market.

The DOJ’s reaction to this is a whole other question…

More to come, but calling this a very big deal is an understatement. No matter what, the Murdochs are coming out a big winner, as by most analysis, they’re exiting the film industry at a time when the value of the studio will only go down. Sell high everybody!



  1. I’ll believe this when I see it actually happen.

    There’s a larger issue here with entertainment not being profitable and monopolies forming. The reality of one or two huge companies supplying all the jobs is becoming more and more of a reality.

    But hey, our kids don’t need jobs or health care or social security…

  2. Ugh. Disney will be an even bigger bully in Hollywood now. And that “2 billion in cost savings from overlapped business after 2 years” is 2 billion less dollars spent in our economy on human capital and creative efforts. Plus for every up an coming actor or movie worker, they now have one less company to leverage against the others for better work opportunities. But hey, we get X-Men in our next jokey Marvel movie…

  3. I just hope they don’t make the X-Men too light-hearted now. Some jokes here and there are fine but some of the Marvel movies have gone overboard with it.

    And does that mean that Disney doesn’t own the Fox tv channels? So Fox can keep producing The Gifted?

  4. Andy,

    My understanding is Disney is getting the entirety of Fox’s film and tv studios output, but not Fox the channel itself (which they can’t own, since they own ABC already) – and with what remains of 21st Century Fox transitioning over to news and sports, it’s possible shows like The Gifted switch networks…and there’s a question of if/how it’s integrated into Marvel Television, if at all. But it could also just stay put if Disney doesn’t see it as being worth the hassle.

    Too early to really say.

  5. “The reality of one or two huge companies supplying all the jobs is becoming more and more of a reality.

    But hey, our kids don’t need jobs or health care or social security…”

    Um, in one sentence you’re saying all the jobs will be coming from these huge companies but then in the next sentence none of the kids will have jobs (nor health care nor SS).. So, what is the actual reality?

  6. Disney is now officially the Evil Empire. This deal guarantees the survival of Fox News. Thanks, Mickey!

    Fox Searchlight recently released two acclaimed adult dramas, THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI, and THE SHAPE OF WATER. Both are R-rated for good reason. Would Disney have released either movie? And will such movies get released in the future, with Disney calling the shots?

    Disney might have released such films 20 years ago, through their Miramax or Touchstone divisions. But those days are long gone.

    I hope Disney will do as Kyle suggested, and keep Fox Searchlight alive as a prestige division. Otherwise, the only Oscars Disney can look forward to are for special effects.

  7. “Disney is now officially the Evil Empire. This deal guarantees the survival of Fox News. Thanks, Mickey!”

    Evil Empire? Oh, come now… this sort of melodrama is such an overreaction. Everything will be fine.

    And God forbid if FOX News continues. Down with all news that doesn’t conform to the “progressive” propaganda agenda.

  8. Read about Disney’s sleazy attempt to blackball the LA Times.

    The Times, you see, was committing journalism. That doesn’t sit well with Disney, which likes to tell reporters that covering the Mouse House is “a privilege and not a right.”

    They ended their LA Times ban when the NY Times and other media outlets announced they would not review Disney films or give the company any publicity — which would mean no Last Jedi coverage. The Evil Empire caved in.

  9. Many people will lose their jobs, original filmmakers will have less oportunities, it will decrease the diversity of movies however many think it isn’t relevant because Murdoch is making a excellent profit and there will be more superhero movies.

  10. The Museum of Modern Art’s Dave Kehr wasn’t surprised that people on Twitter are more concerned about the FF franchise than the John Ford movies in Fox’s vault. We’re talking about a HUGE library going back to the silent era.

    Meanwhile, the Atlantic describes Disney as the Death Star. Seek out their story.

  11. “And God forbid if FOX News continues. Down with all news that doesn’t conform to the “progressive” propaganda agenda.”

    Or reality. We should actually forbid news that isn’t factually based.

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