Sale of 21st Century Fox assets includes stakes in Sky in the UK and Hollywood film studio as tycoon focuses on Fox News and newspapers.
Rupert Murdoch has agreed to sell $66bn worth of 21st Century Fox’s assets, including a Hollywood film studio and 39% stake in Sky, in a deal that transforms his media empire.
The takeover involves the 86-year-old tycoon and his family taking a 4.25% stake in Disney, which will take control of assets including Avatar, X-Men, The Simpsons and Modern Family as well as the FX and National Geographic businesses.
Murdoch will retain control of Fox assets including the profitable, and controversial, Fox News channel.
“We are extremely proud of all that we have built at 21st Century Fox, and I firmly believe that this combination with Disney will unlock even more value for shareholders as the new Disney continues to set the pace in what is an exciting and dynamic industry,” said Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox.
“We’re honoured and grateful that Rupert Murdoch has entrusted us with the future of businesses he spent a lifetime building,” said Iger.
“The acquisition of this stellar collection of businesses from 21st Century Fox reflects the increasing consumer demand for a rich diversity of entertainment experiences that are more compelling, accessible and convenient than ever before.”
The deal will not, for now, impact the proposed takeover by 21st Century Fox of the 61% of Sky it does not own. The Competition and Markets Authority will continue to investigate the deal as a Murdoch-brokered takeover, pending Fox’s Sky stake officially changing hands.
21st Century Fox said that it intends to spin-off the remaining assets as a separate business, called New Fox, that will include Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News, Fox Business, Fox sports and its regional network of stations in the US.