Mergers/Acquisitions News

Walt Disney buys Murdoch’s Fox for $52.4bn, layoffs imminent

Walt Disney has announced it is to buy 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets for a total $52.4bn. The deal includes Fox’s 39% stake in satellite broadcaster Sky, and the 20th Century Fox film studio, Disney announced.

Walt Disney Co.’s purchase of much of 21st Century Fox is a welcome move for investors as it will help Fox compete in a rapidly changing media industry. But the deal also could bring substantial job cuts in Southern California.

Fox’s remaining assets, including Fox News and Sports, will form a new company.

The deal ends more than half a century of media expansion by Fox owner Rupert Murdoch, who is 86 years old. Robert Iger, the Chairman and Chief Executive of Disney who had been rumored to be considering a run for president, will continue with the combined firm through 2021.

The merger could result in hundreds of layoffs for Fox employees in the coming years because the companies have many overlapping departments and Disney would look to generate savings, analysts said.

Disney will buy the Fox assets for $52.4bn in stock, plus about $13.7bn net debt, leaving the value of the deal at about $66.1bn.

Fox is reportedly selling assets including its FX and National Geographic cable channels and media company Star India.

Disney will also buy Fox’s stake in the Hulu video streaming service, giving it majority control of a competitor to Netflix.

Hulu is also partially owned by Comcast and Time Warner.