Disney set to buy Murdoch 21st Century Fox’s assets, including the 39% stake in Sky
Rupert Murdoch has agreed to sell $66bn worth of 21st Century Fox’s assets, including a Hollywood film studio and 39% stake in Sky, in a deal that transforms the media empire.
The takeover involves the 86-year-old tycoon and his family taking a 4.25% stake in Disney, which will take control of assets including Avatar, X-Men, The Simpsons and Modern Family as well as the FX and National Geographic businesses.
Murdoch will retain control of Fox assets including the profitable, and controversial, Fox News channel.
“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,” said Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox.
The deal will not, for now, impact the proposed takeover by 21st Century Fox of the 61% of Sky it does not own. The Competition and Markets Authority will continue to investigate the deal as a Murdoch-brokered takeover, pending Fox’s Sky stake officially changing hands.
Prior to the close of the transaction, it is anticipated that 21st Century Fox will seek to complete its planned acquisition of the 61% of Sky it doesn’t already own. Sky is one of Europe’s most successful pay television and creative enterprises with innovative and high-quality direct-to-consumer platforms, resonant brands and a strong and respected leadership team. 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. Assuming 21st Century Fox completes its acquisition of Sky prior to closing of the transaction, The Walt Disney Company would assume full ownership of Sky, including the assumption of its outstanding debt, upon closing.