Disney completes historic £54 billion takeover of Fox

FILE - In this Aug. 8, 2017, file photo, The Walt Disney Co. logo appears on a screen above the floor of the New York Stock E
FILE - In this Aug. 8, 2017, file photo, The Walt Disney Co. logo appears on a screen above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Disney closed its $71 billion acquisition of Fox’s entertainment assets on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, more than a year after the mega merger was proposed. Disney gets far ranging properties ranging from Fox’s film studios, including “Avatar” and X-Men, to its TV productions such as “The Simpsons” and networks including National Geographic. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Disney has completed its historic takeover of 21st Century Fox, creating an entertainment behemoth of unprecedented scale.

The Walt Disney Company closed its 71.3 billion US Dollar (£53.7 billion)  acquisition at 12.02am Eastern Time on Wednesday, expanding its media portfolio ahead of the launch of its streaming service later this year.

The mega-deal sees Disney absorbing the Fox film and TV studios, the FX networks, National Geographic and Indian TV giant Star India.

Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger
Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger with Mickey Mouse. Iger is celebrating following his company’s purchase of 21st Century Fox (Andrew Parsons/PA)

Some of Fox’s other properties, including its news and sports businesses, have been spun off into the newly formed Fox Corporation.

Disney also doubled their 30% stake in streaming service Hulu, making it by far the biggest stakeholder.

Disney plans to launch its rival to Netflix later this year.

Before the takeover, it already boasted a fearsome catalogue of content, including its classic cartoons, Star Wars and many of the Marvel characters.

After purchasing Fox, it will be able to add the likes of X-Men and Deadpool to its portfolio.

Marvel's Avengers
Marvel’s Avengers are among the globally popular franchises owned by Disney (Ted Hennessy/PA)

In a statement, Robert Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company, hailed the move.

He said: “This is an extraordinary and historic moment for us – one that will create significant long-term value for our company and our shareholders.

“Combining Disney’s and 21st Century Fox’s wealth of creative content and proven talent creates the preeminent global entertainment company, well positioned to lead in an incredibly dynamic and transformative era.”

The move instantly cut the number of major Hollywood studios, ending the era of the Big Six. Warner Bros, Universal, Sony Pictures and Paramount Pictures now make up the Big Five with Disney.

And it cast major doubt over the jobs of potentially thousands of workers, with experts predicting as many as 4,000 positions could be cut.

Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire former owner of executive co-chairman of 21st Century Fox, wrote a letter to employees two days before the takeover was finalised, thanking them for their work.

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