The Walt Disney Co. on Wednesday officially completed its $71.3 billion purchase of a large chunk of 21st Century Fox as it prepares to roll out a long-awaited new streaming service.
The deal gives Disney Fox’s film and television studio, the FX networks, National Geographic and Star India, along with Fox’s 30 percent share in Hulu for overall ownership of 60 percent.
Disney said some $2 billion in savings could be realized by the acquisition, but some industry experts expect layoffs to be part of the impact — with as many as 10,000 jobs lost.
“This is an extraordinary and historic moment for us — one that will create significant long-term value for our company and our shareholders,” Disney CEO Robert A. Iger said in a statement Wednesday.
In an agreement with the Justice Department last year, 21st Century Fox had to spin off its regional sports networks so the deal could go through.
What’s left — Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox Sports, Fox Television Stations Group, sports channels FS1, FS2, Fox Deportes and the Big Ten Network — will remain in the hands of owner Rupert Murdoch.
Murdoch sent a note to 21st Century staff Monday saying the deal is a win-win.
“I anticipate tremendous opportunity for our businesses,” Murdoch wrote. “Fox will be a force in the U.S. market with powerful brands.”
Some analysts argue, though, the deal could force smaller studios to merge just to compete. The deal also gives Disney greater leverage over theater owners when it comes to box office splits and can use its might to stunt the growth of upstart Netflix.
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