BY ROY ALBERT ANDRADE, K1LLER, Inc.
BURBANK. CALIFORNIA - Try to imagine a world without an anthropomorphic mouse with satellite-shaped ears, white gloves, red shorts, and yellow shoes. Luckily, a baby boy with a wild imagination was born on December 5, 1901 in Hermosa, Illinois, years before the Great Depression, World War I, II, and the Wall Street Crash of 1929, but just in time to win 32 Academy Awards® throughout his career before his death on December 15, 1966. Mickey Mouse is unquestionably the most popular cartoon star on the planet, and has helped the The Walt Disney Company become a mass media company.
The Walt Disney Company and Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. have disseminated their agreement for "The Happiest Place on Earth" to purchase 21st Century Fox, including Fox Searchlight Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox Television and Fox 2000, obviously along with other businesses, for roughly $52.4 billion in stock. Disney will assume 21st Century Fox's net debt of an estimated $13.7 billion, and raise the total transaction value close to $66.1 billion, assuming no adjustment is made for 21st Century Fox to be handed over to Disney, which includes an amalgamation of assets along with a number of other investments.
“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,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “We’re honored and grateful that Rupert Murdoch has entrusted us with the future of businesses he spent a lifetime building, and we’re excited about this extraordinary opportunity to significantly increase our portfolio of well-loved franchises and branded content to greatly enhance our growing direct-to-consumer offerings. The deal will also substantially expand our international reach, allowing us to offer world-class storytelling and innovative distribution platforms to more consumers in key markets around the world.”
“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 Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman of 21st Century Fox. “Furthermore, I’m convinced that this combination, under Bob Iger’s leadership, will be one of the greatest companies in the world. I’m grateful and encouraged that Bob has agreed to stay on, and is committed to succeeding with a combined team that is second to none.”
“When considering this strategic acquisition, it was important to the Board that Bob remain as Chairman and CEO through 2021 to provide the vision and proven leadership required to successfully complete and integrate such a massive, complex undertaking,” said Orin C. Smith, Lead Independent Director of the Disney Board. “We share the belief of our counterparts at 21st Century Fox that extending his tenure is in the best interests of our company and our shareholders, and will be critical to Disney’s ability to effectively drive long-term value from this extraordinary acquisition.”
Shawn W. Anderson