Disney buys big chunk of 21st Century Fox in mega-deal

(Photo: Walt Disney Pictures Photo: 21st Century Fox)

(CBS News/AP) – Disney (DIS) is buying a large part of the Murdoch family’s 21st Century Fox (FOXA) in a $52.4 billion deal, including film and television studios, cable and international TV businesses as it tries to meet competition from technology companies in the entertainment business.

The purchase will bring together franchises such as 21st Century Fox’s “X-Men” and “The Simpsons” with Disney’s “Star Wars” movies and its Disney Princess films. Before Disney completes the buyout, 21st Century Fox will separate the Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2 and Big Ten Network into a newly listed company that will be spun off to its shareholders.

The acquisition will break up Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, which spanned assets from pay-TV channels such as National Geographic to the Twentieth Century Fox Film studio. The deal comes amid shifting consumer trends in the media industry, accelerating an “arms race” for content that has been jumpstarted by Netflix (NFLX) and Amazon (AMZN), which are siphoning off consumers from traditional media companies.

“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, CEO of Disney, in a statement.

Fox and Disney are among the big media businesses that have sought to offer a rival to Netflix. They are among the co-owners of the Hulu streaming network, whose “Handmaid’s Tale” won the Emmy award this year for Best Dramatic Series.

Hulu, which is also co-owned Comcast (CMCSA) and Time Warner, and Disney’s other video services will be able to offer “more appealing and engaging experiences” with the purchase of Fox’s entertainment assets, Disney said in a Thursday statement.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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