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Disney to buy Fox film, some TV businesses for $52 billion

14 December 2017

Walt Disney Co has struck a deal to buy film, television and global businesses from Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox Inc for $52.4 billion in stock as the world's largest entertainment company seeks even greater scale to combat growing digital rivals Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc. Plus the company that owns HBO, which makes Game of Thrones.

Disney has yet to reveal a succession plan to replace Iger, who has now extended his contract as chairman and CEO of the studio to 2021. He also said that Disney will of course be "flowing more content in Hulu's direction" now that it owns a controlling 39 percent majority stake, but he seemed more exited by the reality that Disney now has essentially final say in terms of Hulu product decisions.

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Disney, which owns the ABC television network, ESPN and has major studios in Hollywood, is set to launch its own streaming services aimed at competing against Netflix and Amazon.

Disney stands to both make and save money with this deal. The parts that will split off and not be a part of the Walt Disney company include Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News and Fox Business.

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20th Century Fox has three X-Men movies incoming in The New Mutants, Deadpool 2 and X-Men: Dark Phoenix, and is also slated to begin production on Gambit early in the new year. But those in the know say the main reason behind the decision was the nature of business the company followed in India - the co-production model - did not give it any intellectual property rights over the content; the rights remained with the creative production house, which earned all the upside, so the model made little economic sense. Alone, Disney's Buena Vista raked in $1.8 billion, while Fox totaled $1.3 billion so far this year. Fox has a large reach in overseas markets which would make distribution to countries like India, Germany and the United Kingdom much easier for Disney.

"And, we'll see", Iger added. "He will be integral to helping us integrate these companies over the next number of months and during that period of time we will continue to discuss whether there is a role for him here or not".

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"James and I have had a lot of conversations about the future of these companies", Iger told analysts during a morning call. "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".

Disney to buy Fox film, some TV businesses for $52 billion