Disney’s £50bn takeover of Fox to become official next week


The big money takeover of 21st Century Fox by the Walt Disney Company could become official in a matter of days, according to Disney boss Bob Iger.

A company statement to The Hollywood Reporter said Iger expects “the acquisition to become effective at 12:02 a.m. Eastern Time on 20 March”.

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

The $71.3bn (£54.3bn) deal will see huge parts of the Fox entertainment portfolio become part of Disney, including the film and TV studio as well as National Geographic.

Read more: How the deal will change superhero movies

The Mouse House will also acquire a further 30 per cent stake in Hulu, bringing its total share of that company to 60 per cent.

Superhero fans have been excited at the prospect of the acquisition opening the door for characters previously owned by Fox to become part of Marvel Studios and its wide-ranging cinematic universe.

Walt Disney Company CEO Robert Iger and wife journalist Willow Bay arrive for the 91st Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on February 24, 2019. (Photo: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Previously, Fox’s ownership of the rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four prevented characters like Wolverine, Professor X and the Human Torch from appearing in the MCU.

The takeover theoretically enables those characters, who were occasional members of the Avengers in the Marvel comic books, to join the group on the big screen.

Read more: Biggest Fox shows and movies heading to Disney

Fans have expressed fears that edgier, less family friendly characters such as Deadpool would be casualties of the takeover, but Iger has assured that they intend to continue making those movies.

Away from superheroes, Disney is also due to inherit James Cameron’s Avatar franchise – the follow-ups to the highest grossing movie of all time.

Read more: Disney’s upcoming live-action remake slate

The director is currently working on shooting the first two sequels in that series back to back, with a further two set to get moving as soon as those are done.

 



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