The Walt Disney Company has sealed its US$71-billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox, uniting the latter’s iconic collection of businesses and franchises all under the its corporate umbrella.
Disney affirmed that its focus in providing appealing high-quality content and entertainment options to meet growing consumer demand remains intact while planning to increase its international footprint, expand its direct-to-consumer offerings, which include ESPN+ for sports fans, the Disney+ streaming video-on-demand (VoD) service launching later this year. Disney and 21st Century Fox’s combined ownership stake in Hulu will also remain as it is.
Robert A Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, labelled the acquisition as an “extraordinary and historic” moment, creating long-term value for the company and its shareholders. He explained: “Combining Disney’s and 21st Century Fox’s wealth of creative content and proven talent creates the pre-eminent global entertainment company, well positioned to lead in an incredibly dynamic and transformative era.”
Disney will also acquire approximately $19.8 billion of cash and assume approximately $19.2 billion of debt of 21st Century Fox in the acquisition.
The statement issued further stated that the acquisition is expected to be accretive to Disney earnings per share before the impact of purchase accounting for the second fiscal year after the close of the transaction on March 20, and to yield at least $2 billion in cost synergies by 2021 from operating efficiencies realised through the combination of businesses.