The Walt Disney Company said it has reached an agreement to acquire 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion.
This morning Disney announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire most of the assets of 21st Century Fox in a deal valued at $52.4 billion. Included in that $52.4 billion transaction is Fox’s 30 percent stake in Hulu, one of the three leading streaming services in the nation. With the additional shares, Disney now has a 60 percent stake in the online service, giving it majority ownership in the company.
Though Disney still has its sights set on launching two streaming services in the upcoming years — one focused on Disney IP (“Star Wars,” “Marvel,” “Monsters Inc,”) and an ESPN-branded service dedicated to sports — the purchase of the Rupert Murdoch-owned media assets is a good sign for Hulu.
“Hulu obviously is a great opportunity to expand in the direct-to-consumer space,” Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger said on a call about the transaction. “Owning roughly a third of it was great, but having control of it will enable us to greatly accelerate Hulu into that space and become an even more viable competitor to those that are already out there.”
Iger plans to accelerate the streaming service “not only by flowing more content in Hulu’s direction, but by essentially having control to the extent that managing Hulu becomes just a little bit more clear, a little bit more efficient, a little bit more effective with a controlling shareholder,” he explained on the call.
According to the Disney CEO, with Hulu, his company will have a chance to offer several streaming services focused on different demographics, with Hulu likely to be positioned as a more adult oriented service.
The transaction, if cleared by regulators in Washington, D.C., could lead to a seismic shift for Hollywood as it tries to compete with the likes of Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu.