It's official! Disney purchases most of 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion

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About a month ago, we had reported the rumors about Disney looking into buying Fox.  Today it looks like that deal was finalized...

From CNN:

Disney is buying a huge chunk of 21st Century Fox in a deal that promises to reshape the media industry and help the entertainment giant fend off digital rivals such as Netflix.

The $52.4 billion deal will combine two of the biggest players in Hollywood.

The sale represents a remarkable turn in the career of octogenarian mogul Rupert Murdoch, who is cashing out after building a major media empire. For its part, Disney (DIS) is adding even more prime entertainment assets to an already swollen portfolio as it battles upstart streaming services that have undercut the traditional cable subscription model.

In addition to 21st Century Fox's movie studio and regional sports networks, Disney is buying cable channels FX and National Geographic. Disney will also get Fox's stakes in Hulu and European pay-TV provider Sky (SKYAY).

Prior to the deal closing, 21st Century Fox (FOX) will separate the Fox broadcasting network, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, and some national sports networks into a new company that will be spun off to its shareholders. The remaining properties would ideally in the coming years merge with News Corp., from which they split in 2013, Murdoch said on Fox Business Thursday morning.

Disney, which counts ESPN among its crown jewels, has suffered as consumers switch off their TVs and spend more hours watching streaming services such as Netflix (NFLX) that are distributed directly to consumers.

The deal allows Disney to expand its content, especially for streaming services. In addition to a majority stake in Hulu that it will have once the deal closes, Disney is preparing to launch two separate streaming services, one for sports and another focusing on entertainment. And it is pulling its content from Netflix in preparation for the launch. Adding Fox's television and movie studios and the content they own means adding to the stable of must-watch content it can offer directly to consumers -- and that streaming competitors can not.

The deal will needs to undergo regulatory review and will likely take at least a year to close. The Justice Department, which last month sued to block AT&T's purchase of CNN parent company Time Warner, will consider to what extent the new company could dominate the market, using its increased leverage to force cable companies and distributors to pay higher rates to carry Disney and Fox content.

Source: CNN

Commentary: Like I said last month when I first talked about this story, I have huge concerns about the further consolidation of our media.  Back in 2012, Business Insider had reported that 6 companies controlled 90% of the media in America.  This was down from 50 companies in 1983.  Now it will basically be down to 5.  To me, this is a scary prospect.  While I don't particularly like Fox News, I am actually glad it will remain independent from this buyout. 

One of my biggest concerns coming from this is the sheer power this merged company would have.  Disney has already been flexing it's muscle in recent months, forcing theaters to pay a higher chunk of movie theater grosses in order to show STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI.  Variety also reported that Disney had attempted to block Los Angeles Times columnists from press screenings because of the newspaper’s coverage of Disney’s business arrangements with the City of Anaheim.  Now Disney will not only have their own vast empire but also 21st Century's as well. This doesn't bode well for the future.

A lot of people are asking what this means for DARK PHOENIX, INFINITY WAR, DEADPOOL 2, and NEW MUTANTS.  Probably nothing since this deal won't go down for at least a year.  But it is certainly possible that after Avengers 4, we could see some X-Men properties show up in the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

Good or bad, this is definitely going to be a huge shift in the media landscape if it is allowed to go through.  I am sure we will be talking much more about this in months to come.