Disney completes 21st Century Fox deal, Fox Sports spun off into new firm

The Walt Disney Company has completed its acquisition of the majority of 21st Century Fox’s assets, with the remainder – including Fox Sports – now spun off into a new company, the Fox Corporation.

Disney closed its $71bn (€63bn) acquisition of Fox’s media assets yesterday, absorbing the Fox film and TV studios, the FX networks, National Geographic, and Indian broadcaster Star India.

Before the deal closed on March 19, 21st Century Fox completed the spin-off of a portfolio of its business units, including Fox Sports and Fox Deportes, into the new publicly-traded entity.

This came with the appointment of several new board members, including former Formula One chief executive Chase Carey. Carey also previously served as president and chief executive of DirecTV.

Disney has also had to offload items to appease regulators in various countries. In the US, this included 22 regional sports channels. One network, New York Yankees’ YES Network, has already been sold for roughly $3.5bn to a group led by the baseball team and including Amazon and the Sinclair Broadcasting Group.

National regulators have also ordered Disney to offload Fox Sports channels in Brazil and Mexico, along with associated media rights for all these channels, due to the Disney’s ownership of ESPN, which also operates sports channels in those countries.

Most recent

Pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus’s surprise move to share all its English Premier League rights in France for the 2019-22 cycle with telco Altice was related to a carriage deal secured late last year with Altice, SportBusiness Media understands. This deal enabled Canal’s platform to show RMC Sport channels, allowing it access to the Uefa Champions League.

The value of the Israeli Basketball Premier League’s domestic rights has stalled, with incumbent pay-television broadcaster Sports Channel renewing rights from 2019-20 amid little competition.

The two-and-a-half-year negotiation between Brazilian club Palmeiras and media group Globo ended in a good result for the club last month, as it became one of only three Série A clubs to receive a minimum guarantee for its pay-per-view rights in 2019.

The rights value in Italy for the pre-season International Champions Cup football tournament was weighed down by a combination of lower inventory, a busy summer sports calendar and a tough market environment, SportBusiness Media understands.