Disney-Fox Merger
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The Truth About The Disney-Fox Merger

Be ready to see Homer Simpson run into Mickey Mouse a bit more often.

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Disney Fox

With movie franchises like "Star Wars" and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Walt Disney Company is already one of if not the most powerful media company in the United States. On top of those assets, Disney owns Pixar Animation Studios, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Records, ABC Television Group, A&E Network (50 percent ownership), ESPN, and even the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York City. Bringing in billions of dollars of revenue already, Disney is no business to scoff at, making it and anything that it decides to do seem like a safe bet. That's why many investors and industry analysts, not to mention media consumers, are so excited for what Disney has in store for us.

For some time now, 21st Century Fox, owners of companies like 20th Century Fox, Fox News, and so many more, have been part of a bidding war to be purchased. While Comcast, the company that owns NBC and Universal, briefly took the lead in the race, Disney has, for most of it, been the frontrunner. At this point, the merger deal is seemingly complete and will be officially finalized in a joint shareholder meeting of the two companies in New York City on July 27. This is looking to be one of the biggest and most important corporate merger deals for years to come, so let's break it down to better understand it.

Disney

The Walt Disney Company, called that since the 1980's, is currently the largest media conglomerate by revenue in the world. Founded by brothers Walt and Roy Disney in 1923, the company has become well known for its cartoons. In 1937, the company released "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," the first full-length animated feature film, starting off a golden age of animation for Disney consisting of films such as "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

Following World War II, during which the company produced propaganda films for the US containing already-established characters such as Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and Donald Duck, Disney began to slump a bit. It was during this time that Disneyland in Anaheim, California was opened and construction on Walt Disney World in Florida was beginning. It wasn't all sunny for the company, though, as it was also during this period that Walt Disney passed away.

At this point, the company's films weren't performing as well, home video releases didn't really exist yet, and the leadership of the company was gone that the company faced falling revenues and many of the issues that would arise from this. However, with the release of "The Little Mermaid" in 1989 and the release of subsequent films by the company such as "The Lion King," "Aladdin," "Beauty and the Beast," and "Toy Story, the first-ever computer animated full-length feature film, the Disney Renaissance period came and returned Disney to the head of the animated film pack.

Throughout this time, though, Disney was expanding to other industries to make up for underperformance at the box office. In 1983, the company unveiled its Disney Channel with such hit television programs as "Duck Tales," "Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers," and "Darkwing Duck," as well as merging with ABC in 1995, which brought in ABC Television Networks, A&E Television, and ESPN, at one point the largest cable sports network in America.

The era of Disney expanding and making more money continue to today with the purchase of Pixar in 2006, Marvel in 2009, and Lucasfilm (with its "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" franchises) in 2012. Now, in 2018, with an estimated revenue of over 55 billion dollars, Disney looks to continue to grow by incorporating into its vast media empire the assets of 21st Century Fox.

Fox

21st Century Fox is the corporate predecessor to News Corporation, which existed from 1979 until 21st Century Fox and News Corp. were spun off into individual companies in 2013. Founded by Rupert Murdoch, the company traces its roots back all the way to 1923 (the same year Disney was founded) with the creation of the News Limited. The company includes 20th Century Fox, one of the largest film companies in the world, Fox Television Group, which has produced shows such as "Family Guy," "The Simpsons," and so many others, the list would be too long for here.

With revenue of about 28.5 billion dollars, Fox was already one of the largest media companies in the world, but now, if the deal with Disney is completed, which is near certain, it will create a company with a revenue of nearly 80 billion dollars.

The Deal

Disney initially announced its purchasing of 21st Century Fox for 52.4 billion dollars in December 2017. However, their bid was briefly eclipsed by Comcast's bid of 65 billion dollars in June of 2018, only for Disney to give a final bid, which Fox accepted, of 71.3 billion dollars on June 20, 2018. While the boards of the companies have approved the deal, the shareholders must still vote on the deal, since both companies are publicly traded on the stock market.

The vote which is being held on July 27, 2018, in the New York Hilton Midtown, should be one of the landmark events in the history of American media. The deal will give Disney control of all of 21st Century Fox's assets, with the exception of Fox's local news stations, which the Department of Justice required be spun off to allow the merger to go through. This includes things like the movie company 20th Century Fox, the animated studio Blue Sky Animation, TV shows like "Archer," "Family Guy," "The Simpsons," channels like Fox News, FX, National Geographic, and Fox's 30 percent stake in the streaming company Hulu, which Disney already owned a 30 percent stake in.

While many fans of Marvel are applauding the move, as the Fantastic Four and the X-Men have been owned by Fox since the 1990's, as well as "Star Wars" fans, since Fox still owned the distribution rights to the original six films, some people are concerned that the company that would be created would be far too large for others to compete against. For several years now it has seemed like the only movies that constantly turned out massive profits were Pixar, Disney, Marvel, and "Star Wars" films, with other movies like "Deadpool" and "X-Men: Days of Future Past" occasionally getting up there. However, now all of those films will be owned by Disney, thus making it that much harder for companies that don't make Marvel and "Star Wars" films to compete in a market Disney has seemingly already cornered.

On top of that, after this deal is completed, Disney will own the distribution rights to 7 out of the top 10 highest grossing films of all time (1. "Avatar," 2. "Titanic," 3. "Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens," 4. "Avengers: Infinity War," 6. "The Avengers," 8. "Avengers: Age of Ultron," 9. "Black Panther") as well as such classic films as the original "Star Wars," the Disney classics and the Disney Renaissance films, the Pixar movies, and countless others.

Many are worried that if the deal goes forward we could see the beginnings of a media monopoly, but others are confident that this will not happen given the way people's taste in media changes so rapidly. Whether or not the greatest fears of people come true will not be seen for many years to come, but for now be ready to see the Fantastic Four in the next "Avengers" movie and for Homer Simpson to run into Mickey Mouse a bit more often.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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