The Walt Disney Company has just extended its cinematic empire in a colossal new deal buying out 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets for $52.4 billion (around £39bn).
Announcing the move in an official statement, Disney reveals that the deal includes Fox's 39% stake in satellite broadcaster Sky, as well as the 20th Century Fox film studio. Rupert Murdoch's company will retain control of News Corp and a new enterprise will be formed out of Fox's remaining assets, Fox News and Sports.
Looking to seriously shake up the world of audiovisual media, Disney – which already owns Pixar and Lucasfilm – will now be getting its hands on Fox's film catalog, which includes several major Marvel franchises.
Good news for superhero fans, this provides Disney with the opportunity to "reunite the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool with the Marvel family under one roof ", the company was eager to point out. As a result, we may be getting more movie crossovers in the future.
Further to that, Disney will also be absorbing streaming platform FX, the National Geographic Channel and several TV shows including The Simpsons. The company is also set to buy out Fox's stake in video streaming service Hulu – which most notably gave us The Handmaid's Tale – giving it majority control of the Netflix competitor.
The news has been met with mixed reactions with many concerned about Disney's domination of the industry. According to one Asia-based Hollywood executive, quoted by Variety:
"This is really bad news for every other studio. Competing against Disney is already tough enough. But Disney plus Fox is going to be really tough."
Beyond its existing franchises and platforms, Disney has also announced plans to launch its own streaming service to compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon.
Proving the lengths Disney is prepared to go to in order to adapt to the evolution of the entertainment business, the deal will be put into effect in 2019.