The Walt Disney Company has announced that it has completed the acquisition of 21st Century Fox and the same will become effective from 12:02 a.m. Eastern, 20th March 2019.
“This is an extraordinary and historic moment for us—one that will create significant long-term value for our company and our shareholders,” said Robert A. Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. “Combining Disney’s and 21st Century Fox’s wealth of creative content and proven talent creates the preeminent global entertainment company, well positioned to lead in an incredibly dynamic and transformative era.”
The mega deal encompasses 21st Century Fox’s film production businesses, Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Productions, Fox21, FX Networks, National Geographic Partners, Fox Networks Group International, Star India, and stakes in Hulu, Tata Sky and Endemol Shine Group.
“With 21st Century Fox’s iconic collection of businesses and franchises, Disney will be able to provide more appealing high-quality content and entertainment options to meet growing consumer demand; increase its international footprint; and expand its direct-to-consumer offerings, which include ESPN+ for sports fans, the highly-anticipated Disney+ streaming video-on-demand service launching in late 2019; and Disney and 21st Century Fox’s combined ownership stake in Hulu,” the company said in a statement.
The deal that has been cleared by the statutory authorities of almost all international markets, where 21st Century Fox has its presence, However, met with a blockade in Brazil as the government was apprehensive of the monopoly in the sports broadcasting Business. Subsequently, Disney has decided to offload the same from its plans in order to further the acquisition.
Star and Disney in India:
The Walt Disney Company’s $71.3-billion acquisition of Rupert Murdoch-owned 21st Century Fox includes Star India. Sources revealed that the merged entity will be lead by Sanjay Gupta. He will report to Star and Disney India Chairman and The Walt Disney Co Asia Pacific president Uday Shankar.
Among other changes, Star India CFO Sanjay Jain may move to The Walt Disney Co Asia Pacific in a similar role, while Sujeet Vaidya, CFO at Disney India, will oversee finances of the merged entity.
Disney India’s Country Head Abhishek Maheshwari will take over the English and kids clusters along with live events of the merged entity. This will include Star World, Star Movies and the kids channels from the Disney stable.
Star India’s Hindi general entertainment channels head Gaurav Banerjee will lead all Hindi entertainment channels – GECs and movies, including Disney-owned UTV Movies.
The merger will catapult Walt Disney to the top seat in the Indian entertainment genre as it will own rights of some of the biggest media properties like the Indian Premier League, the English Premier League (EPL), top regional language and Hindi TV shows, and films.
Disney will now have assets across broadcasting, digital, film, entertainment and sports in India, along with about 30% of Tata Sky and a fourth of the equity in leading production house Endemol Shine India.
The merged company will have close to 80 channels, up from Disney’s eight channels now, with leading brands across Hindi, Bengali and Malayalam in the general and mass-entertainment space