When I saw the price tag that Disney and Fox are talking about, I thought there was a typo. $60 billion? That’s a bit high. $6 billion is closer to Disney’s other major acquisitions since Bob Iger became CEO.
Disney paid $7.4 billion for Pixar, $4 billion for LucasFilm, and $4.2 billion for Marvel. Add that all up, and Disney is paying about four times as much for Fox properties as they did for Pixar, LucasFilm, and Marvel combined. Granted, that isn’t adjusted for inflation. But wowzers, that’s a steep price tag. That tells me that Disney has big plans for the purchase.
What comes with the purchase? Some of the things people have talked about are more of the Marvel properties (X-Men, Fantastic Four, and DeadPool), A New Hope, and Avatar. I admit these are all great acquisitions. With Avengers: Infinity War coming up and the departure of many characters in the Marvel universe, being able to include these characters is a plus. And owning Avatar will probably save Parks and Resorts some money on licensing fees. The Fox studios and film/TV library are great assets. But I don’t think they’re worth $60 billion.
What I think pushes the price tag up so far is Hulu. Disney currently owns 30% of the online streaming service. This acquisition would push that number up to 60%. Since Disney is working on it’s own streaming service, borrowing from Hulu’s experience (and maybe software) is a definite plus. This would explain why Disney pulled out of their deal with Netflix so soon after it began. As the majority shareholder of Hulu, Disney would be poised to build a strong online streaming presence. It’ll be interesting to see if Hulu will become Disney’s streaming service over time, or if it will continue to function as a separate entity.
The second kicker in the deal is James Murdoch. Since Tom Staggs left Disney shortly after he was announced as Bob Iger’s successor as CEO, Disney has been looking for a replacement for Iger. It looks as though Disney has been looking outside the company for a candidate. If the deal is closed, Murdoch would likely be brought to Disney in an executive position, poising him to take over when Iger finally retires.
If this goes through, Anastasia would be included in the list of movies Disney acquires. I hear so many people talk about Fox’s Anastasia as though it was a Disney movie. It’s a great movie, but it bothers me that so many people put it in the wrong place. But this way, Anastasia would be a Disney princess after all. To everyone I’ve corrected over the years, I’m sorry. You were right.
While it looks unlikely, Comcast is also interested in the Fox purchase. Currently, Comcast owns XFinity, NBCUniversal, and DreamWorks. Owning Fox properties would give them access to a huge film library. With how hard Universal is pushing to expand it’s parks, the extra intellectual property could be a great boost for Universal park growth. These IPs could find homes in the third park Universal is currently planning for Orlando.
Personally, I’d like to see a theme park attraction based around X Files or Fringe. I don’t care which company gets those rights in this purchase. But please, build it!