Rupert Murdoch: Fox's $52.4B asset sale to Disney 'makes sense'


Walt Disney Co.'s deal to buy a chunk of 21st Century Fox Inc. will need approval from US antitrust officials who are sure to scrutinize a tie-up that concentrates Hollywood movie-making and sports broadcasting. So, that could contribute a substantial portion to the cash which the Murdochs make from the Disney deal, estimated to be worth over $60-$70 billion.

The sports networks include the YES Network in New York, Prime Ticket and Fox Sports West in Los Angeles, and networks that carry 44 professional teams in Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the NHL.

Under the deal, expected to close in 12 to 18 months, Disney acquires 21st Century Fox's film and television studios, its cable entertainment networks and worldwide TV businesses.

"Disney will be able to offer more ways than ever before to bring kids and families the world and all that is in it", the company said in its press release announcing the deal.

An episode called "When You Dish Upon A Star", which first aired on November 8, 1998, depicted a sign on the front of a building that read "20th Century Fox, a Division of Walt Disney Co".

In 2017, a combined Disney Buena Vista and 21st Century Fox would represent 40 percent of the top 15 highest-grossing movies in the US and 31 percent of total domestic box office revenue, according to Box Office Mojo.

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Speaking on Fox Business Thursday morning, Murdoch said he made it a condition of the deal that Iger would stay on. 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.

Disney will also be "flowing" more content to Hulu, and managing the digital platform will be "more clear, more efficient and more effective" with one company having control, rather than equal partners.

"James and I have had a lot of conversations about the future of these companies", Iger said.

Mr lger continue as chairman and chief executive of Disney until the end of 2021.

What do you make of this Disney/Fox deal?

In a statement of his own, Murdoch said, "I'm convinced that this combination, under Bob Iger's leadership, will be one of the greatest companies in the world". This will also expand Disney's global reach, as it will come under control of Fox's stake in Star in India and Sky in Europe - the latter being a company that Fox is looking to buy entirely before the transaction with Disney completes.