Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Disney Acquisition of 20th Century Fox Closes

It's official.  The Disney acquisition of 20th Century Fox has closed as of 12:02 am ET this morning.  The New York Times has summed this up with a quote from The Lion King.  "Everything the light touches is yours."

This makes Disney the largest studio by far.  The website for the Walt Disney Company has already been  updated to reflect the change.   Images for Avatar, The Simpsons, Fox Searchlight, National Geographic, Fox Sports India, and Deadpool have been mixed in with Frozen, Toy Story, Fantasia, Captain Marvel, and Star Wars.

Disney now owns the 20th Century Fox movie and television studio, which has one of the greatest remaining back catalogs, Blue Sky Animation, the National Geographic and FX cable networks, most of the streaming service Hulu, and Star, the fast-growing television service provider in India.  Disney also gets back full distribution rights to the Star Wars franchise, particularly A New Hope, and the X-men and Fantastic Four families back into Marvel Studios.

The process will still continue.  Disney has to offload Fox's 22 regional sports channels, plus a stake in A+E Networks, Fox Sports, and as well as follow some added stipulations on the ownership of National Geographic and Nat Geo Wild channels.  But this is a huge steps in Disney's continued growth and development.

Streaming will continue to be the division to watch as the companies begin to intertwine.  Disney+ will be rolling out later in the year and National Geographic is expected to be a pillar of the platform.  Disney is further expected to attempt to acquire WarnerMedia's 10% of Hulu, which would bring it's ownership up to 70%. That would allow Disney to monopolize the platform with its more adult programming.  Arm-chair analysts could also see Disney seeking to reach an agreement with Universal for the remaining 30%, likely some sort of swap involving theme park rights, distribution rights, and The Simpsons.

Interesting times.

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