Disney CEO Bob Iger has released the following letter to Cast Members regarding the acquisition of 21st Century Fox as well as Iger extending his time as CEO through the year 2021.
Dear Fellow Employee,
I am very pleased to tell you that we have entered an agreement to acquire a truly stellar collection of entertainment businesses and franchises from 21st Century Fox. The deal includes 20th Century Fox Film and Television, along with a broad collection of valuable cable properties including FX Networks, the National Geographic channels, Fox Sports Regional Networks, Fox Networks Group International and Star India, as well as Fox’s interests in Hulu, Sky plc, Tata Sky, and Endemol Shine Group.
This is an historic move forward for us, one that reflects a rapidly evolving media landscape that is increasingly defined by transformative technology and consumer trends and expectations. Empowered by new and exciting technology, today’s consumers want more access to entertainment and information…and they want their entertainment experiences to be more compelling, easier to find, and easier to use.
Bringing Disney and 21st Century Fox together will combine some of the world’s most iconic entertainment franchises along with great creative talent and a broad international presence to create a multi-faceted global entertainment company with the content, the platforms, and the reach to meet the growing demands of consumers around the world.
We are very pleased with the prospect of gaining 21st Century Fox’s extensive international properties, which allow us to substantially enhance our global footprint with world-class offerings in key regions. Star India alone reaches 720 million viewers a month and Fox Networks Group International includes 350 channels in 170 different countries. Fox also owns 39% of Sky – one of the most successful and innovative television companies in Europe. They hope to close their purchase of the rest of that company next summer, which would give us a direct relationship with the nearly 23 million households Sky reaches in that region.
Given 21st Century Fox’s collection of valuable content and its direct-to-consumer capabilities and experience in The Americas, Europe, and Asia, this acquisition will expand our direct-to-consumer offerings and significantly accelerate our strategy in that direction. It will also give us a controlling interest in Hulu, which opens up even greater potential for us to grow and enhance that platform. As I’ve said before, creating a direct relationship with consumers is vital to the future of our media businesses. It’s one of our highest priorities as a company, and for me it’s one of the most interesting and exciting aspects of this deal.
The combination of Fox’s creative properties with Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, ESPN, and ABC offers the opportunity for us to create even more compelling entertainment experiences and value propositions that appeal to a broad global audience.
On a personal note, I often say that leading this phenomenal company is the privilege of a lifetime, because I get to work with so many incredibly creative, dedicated, and inspiring people. The deal we announced today makes me even more optimistic and energized about our future, and I appreciate the opportunity to continue to lead you through this dynamic era of change and new possibilities. I remain completely awed by your collective talent and immensely grateful for your support as we write the next exciting chapter in Disney’s legendary story together.