Legacy making merger: Disney-Fox mega-deal set to close March 20

Legacy making merger: Disney-Fox mega-deal set to close March 20”

The Walt Disney Company has set a March 20 deadline for the acquisition of 21st Century Fox. Its ownership of those channels and cable sports network ESPN would otherwise give the company undue influence in sports broadcasting, said the watchdog. The RSNs are now in the process of being shopped, and bidders have included Amazon, Apollo Global Management, KKR&Co, The Blackstone Group and Sinclair Broadcast Group.

The rest of what was 21st century Fox will become a new company simply called "Fox". Fox shareholders will receive a mix of cash and stock valued at $38 a share in the deal.

Additionally, 21st Century Fox will distribute all issued and outstanding shares of Fox Corporation common stock to 21st Century Fox stockholders (excluding holders of the shares held by subsidiaries of 21st Century Fox) on a pro rata basis at approximately 8 a.m. ET/PT on March 19.

The transaction includes 21st Century Fox's film and television studios, cable entertainment networks and worldwide TV businesses, which brought popular entertainment properties including X-Men, Avatar, The Simpsons, FX Networks and National Geographic to Disney's portfolio.

The Murdochs also will retain the legendary Fox Studios lot on Pico Boulevard near Century City. Like with Brazil last month, the main sticking point was Disney's putative ownership of Fox Sports given the importance of soccer rights; the combination of Fox and Disney's ESPN was also viewed warily by regulators in the USA and Europe, with major agencies there requiring divestitures. Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger earlier this year flew to Brazil to help hammer out an agreement to satisfy Latin American regulators. Disney initiated the deal in December 2017, but received a series of counteroffers from Comcast, significantly raising the price of the deal.

Shareholders approved the deal in July 2018 after a lengthy bidding war.

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