Walt Disney to buy 21st Century Fox for $70 billion

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NEW YORK: Walt Disney said yesterday that it had reached a deal to buy 21st Century Fox for US$52.4 billion (S$70 billion) in stock, solidifying its position as a producer of entertainment content as it faces new rivals from Silicon Valley.

The deal will see Disney acquire film and television studios, cable entertainment networks and international TV businesses, bringing popular entertainment properties including X-Men, Avatar, The Simpsons, FX Networks and National Geographic into Disney's portfolio.

21st Century Fox's TV stations and Fox News channel will however be spun off before the sale.

"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 Disney's chief executive Robert Iger in a statement.

Mr Iger, who was previously expected to step down in 2019, will now stay on through 2021.

Disney has been seen as trying to bolster its Hollywood and TV positions by getting the Fox library of content to strengthen its arsenal against Netflix and other rivals. - AFP