The Walt Disney Co. said Tuesday that its $71.3 billion acquisition of large parts of 21st Century Fox is set to close Wednesday, March 20.
The company, led by chairman and CEO Bob Iger, said it expects “the acquisition to become effective at 12:02 a.m. Eastern Time on March 20.”
Last week, Iger had said that the Fox takeover would close “soon” after the companies had previously spoken of a closing by midyear. Tuesday’s timing update suggests that Mexico’s regulator, which was the last international agency left to formally approve the deal, has given its green light.
Disney and Fox also said that they expect Fox to distribute early Tuesday, March 19, “all issued and outstanding shares of Fox Corporation common stock to 21st Century Fox stockholders.” The new Fox will operate as a separate company, including Fox News and the Fox broadcast network, after the mega-deal closes.
Disney is paying $71.3 billion for most of Fox, including the film and TV studio, FX, National Geographic, an additional 30 percent stake in Hulu — bringing Disney’s stake to 60 percent — and more. Disney will combine 20th Century Fox’s film units with Pixar, Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios, Disney Animation Studios and Disney’s own live-action productions. The marquee Fox franchises that Disney is set to inherit include James Cameron’s Avatar series, while Fox superhero properties such as X-Men and Deadpool are expected to head to Marvel Studios.
Disney has promised $2 billion in cost savings, so some expect more than 4,000 layoffs.