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Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox to be finalized on March 20

We’re one week away from the final steps in The Walt Disney Company’s $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox. The mega-deal will close on March 20th, making Disney the biggest player in Hollywood.

To make the deal official Disney has had to deal with regulatory restrictions in Brazil (where Disney had to sell off some sports channels) and Mexico. Now that all those hurdles are cleared, the final step involves Fox investors setting the exact mix of stock and cash Disney will pay out. Once that delivery is made at 12:02 AM ET on March 20, 2019 the deal is final.

In the USA, Disney STILL has to sell the 22 regional sports networks it acquired from Fox in order to comply with regulatory wishes. It has already sold the YES Network back to the Yankees organization (with help from Sinclair Broadcasting Group and Amazon) for around $3.5 billion.

The final price of $71.3B was inflated from the original $52.4B offer made on December 14, 2017 due to a bidding war with Comcast for the 21st Century Fox assets. Disney’s largest acquisition prior to Fox was (correction: ABC/Capital Cities for $19B not Pixar Animation Studios in 2006 for $7.4B).

This is seismic change for Hollywood and the entertainment industry as a whole. With the Fox assets under its wing Disney expands the number of franchises it controls. Adding titles like Avatar, Alien, Planet of the Apes, Independence Day and X-Men to its existing mega list will allow Disney to control a larger share of the box office. By developing those properties across its multiple platforms, Disney can make even more money off of merchandising, live-streaming, and other services. Other studios will have a harder time getting their movies onto the calendar with Disney able to control more of the production and distribution resources.

What are your hopes for the new Disney company once the Fox acquisition is complete?