Disney will pay about $28 a share in an all-stock deal for Fox businesses including a movie studio, cable channels and global assets. The company, which owns the U.S. broadcaster ABC, used to make around two-thirds of its revenues from television but "cord-cutting" - customers abandoning pay-television operators in favour of alternative internet services - has led to this falling to just under half of all sales.
Shareholders in 21st Century Fox will now receive 0.27 Disney shares for each share they hold, giving Murdoch and his family a holing of less than five per cent in the enlarged family.
"Should the multi-channel ecosystem get to where it's not as viable as we need it to be, we can flip a switch and offer content direct to consumer", Iger explained.
Disney is acquiring Fox's 39 percent stake in European TV provider Sky Plc.
Disney is responding by launching its own streaming services and, with Fox's television and filmed assets, it will become a powerful player.
Disney has agreed to acquire 21st Century Fox.
This move comes amidst reports that Rupert Murdoch, 86, if finally ready to hand the company over to his sons Lachlan and James after a tumultuous year that saw Fox News part ways with its creator Roger Ailes and biggest star Bill O'Reilly following multiple reports of sexual harassment or assault from staffers. In March, he said he was committed to leaving the company in July 2019.
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"Furthermore, I'm convinced that this combination, under Bob Iger's leadership, will be one of the greatest companies in the world".
When considering 21st Century Fox's acquisition of Sky, media regulator Ofcom originally dismissed concerns over broadcasting standards - citing Sky's good reputation for news.
Disney said assuming this did complete prior to its takeover of Fox closing, it would assume full ownership of Sky.
"It is born out of an important lesson I've learned in my long career in media: namely, content and news relevant to viewers will always be valuable".
Iger will continue as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company through the end of calendar year 2021. He outlined that they sort of see Hulu as a delivery method for more adult-oriented Fox TV offerings, Disney's streaming service as a family-oriented offering around Lucasfilm, Marvel and Disney, and ESPN as a sports fan service.
Comcast, the United States cable titan and owner of NBC, had been interested in Fox's entertainment assets, as had Verizon, the U.S. mobile phone operator.