BURBANK, Calif. (AP) – Disney is buying a large part of the Murdoch family’s 21st Century Fox in a $52.4 billion deal, including film and television studios, cable and international TV businesses as it tries to meet competition from technology companies in the entertainment business.
Before the buyout, 21st Century Fox will separate the Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2 and Big Ten Network into a newly listed company that will be spun off to its shareholders.
The entertainment business is going through big changes. Tech companies are building video divisions. Advertisers are following consumer attention to the internet. And Disney is launching new streaming services, which could be helped with the addition of the Fox assets.
Disney CEO to stay on until at least 2021
Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger will remain in those roles until at least 2021 as part of the company’s deal to acquire a large part of 21st Century Fox.
The Walt Disney Co. had announced in March an extension of his contract to July 2, 2019, ending any speculation that Iger would retire this year. Thursday’s extension is driven by the $52.4 billion deal for Fox’s film and television studios, cable and international TV businesses.
Orin Smith, lead independent director of Disney’s board, says keeping Iger was key to “provide the vision and proven leadership required to successfully complete and integrate such a massive, complex undertaking.”
During an appearance on “Good Morning America” on Disney-owned ABC, Iger said, “I’ve got one of the greatest jobs in the world … This combination makes it even more exciting.”
Disney has no obvious successor since Iger’s heir apparent, COO Tom Staggs, left last year.
Since taking the top role in 2005, Iger has acquired Star Wars owner LucasFilm, Pixar and Marvel and driven improvements in Disney’s consumer products and parks division, most recently with the opening of Shanghai Disneyland in 2016.
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