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Business, Politics & Society

Navigating Complex Deals: 21st Century Fox Case Study

Bob Iger

Lesson time 14:24 min

The process to acquire 21st Century Fox was complicated and time-consuming. Bob walks you through the deal and explains the challenges.

Bob Iger
Teaches Business Strategy and Leadership
Former Disney CEO Bob Iger teaches you the leadership skills and strategies he used to reimagine one of the world’s most beloved brands.
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- Sometimes, your whole life boils down to one insane move. [MUSIC PLAYING] - I've known Rupert Murdoch for a long time, and although we've competed with one another over the years, we've also had a mutual respect for one another. And at times, we get together just to talk about the business and to share our insights. And such a time occurred in 2017, when I got a phone call from Rupert asking me to come to his home in Los Angeles just to have a chat. And I sat down with him, and for an hour, we talked about the business and the changes that we saw happening in the business, the various challenges that we were both seeing, and essentially compared notes a bit just about the dynamics of the business that we were operating in and how different it was from the business that we had been in over the years. And when I left, it seemed clear to me that he was sending a signal of sorts. And so I called him some time later and inquired as to whether he was, in fact, open-minded about possibly doing a deal that would result in us acquiring certain 21st Century Fox-- the company that he ran-- assets, and he said that he was open to it. And so, over the course of a few weeks, we developed a blueprint in terms of which assets of the 21st Century Fox Company we should acquire because they would fit into our strategy and work well in terms of what we want to accomplish in the future, and which ones we could acquire from a regulatory perspective. [MUSIC PLAYING] When Rupert and I sat down in the summer of 2017, it was just two months after I had met with the Disney board and outlined for them a new strategy for the company to move into the direct-to-consumer business, so that when Rupert and I first started exploring buying the assets of 21st Century Fox that we ultimately acquired, we did so with the knowledge that those assets would serve our new interests well and would complement, and fit into, and enable the strategy that we were getting ready to deploy for the company. I felt, if we were going into the direct-to-consumer space, that we needed more content creation capabilities. We had a lot at the company, but this would increase the amount of content we could create. It also came with brands that I thought would have real value in a direct-to-consumer world, led by National Geographic, but even including sub-brands like the Simpsons, or FX, or Fox Searchlight. It also would come with a huge treasure trove of content that we could ultimately include in our various direct-to-consumer services and monetize in new, more modern ways. And in addition, we've been interested, since the time I became CEO, of growing internationally and penetrating certain markets far more effectively or more deeply than we had in the past. And one of the more attractive elements of this acquisition was the international assets of the 21st Century Fox businesses, and notably across Europe, and in India and Southeast Asia. [MUSI...

Embrace risk, build resilience

In an era of disruption, former Disney CEO Bob Iger led one of the world’s most beloved brands to unprecedented success with the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm. Now, through case studies and lessons from 45 years in media, Bob teaches you how to evolve your business and career. Learn strategies for expanding a brand, leading with integrity, and making big moves—from risk management to the art of negotiation.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I have been inspired by Bob's well-rounded set of values and lessons

i really enjoyed this class...throughout the class he gives examples and outcomes...he probably isn't allowed to give great in-depth details on the wall type of details which could be helpful or not...either way i would recommend this class.

Excellent business strategy examples from all levels of management.

This was very helpful and gave me some good insights.


Nicholas C.

Certainly interesting in terms of the thought process and the needed juggling to get a deal of this size working.

A fellow student

The regulatory stuff stinks. So one larger, more powerful company can strong arm the government to get a better deal? How is this fair?

Ellis T.

Hey, confused about the infographic @ 11:59. How can Hulu be both an asset Disney already owned and a asset Disney was acquiring? Thanks

Alan C.

I may not know all the ins or outs of businesses such as this , or at this time . I might need to rewatch these videos at least a few more times , over and over to get a better and more comprehensive understanding of what is being taught . But I trust Bob Iger ; he sees all that stuff that I am not aware of yet , and you know what ? I probably don't even need to know unless he thinks Disney needs a new CEO , which should be highly unlikely , at least for say the next 10 to 50 years or so . He seems super-trustworthy in the way of not having hidden hostility or malicious intent toward the viewers of this MasterClass , specifically , me . He has a good vibe . Unfortunately I can not say that about everyone I've met , even at work ; however this is a highly welcome contrast . I'll say this about myself : I am highly directable ; at the same time I can sort of , or at least learn to be , the director . If I was Steve Jobs Pixar would belong to Disney again and vice-versa . No complaints . This is really great stuff and I excitedly look forward to the next lesson . I wish I had some sort of iPad to show him or something . Will a partially written screenplay do ? Miramax used to do " R " stuff ; and still I won't be quite sure of the rating of my screenplay until it is completed ..... but I mention that only as a type of " Plan B , " should it not fit immediately under Disney , should it turn out " R " rated . Or maybe Touchstone , or maybe Hollywood Pictures . Or FOX Searchlight , or something ..... What do you think ?

Shahid S.

I really enjoyed this one for a couple reasons: 1) The acquisition was perfectly in line with the strategy already in motion by Iger. Even with a massive acquisition the simplest reasoning can be the difference in pursuing. 2) Negotiating knowing your competition in mind. The incremental bidding would still keep Comcast involved - and seems to be the natural steps in negotiating such large deals. But Iger knew that at $38/share it essentially priced Comcast out combined with the idea that they'd have regulatory issues anyway. Great lessons even for the smallest of deals or billion dollar deals.

Marcus M.

This case study was great! It is interesting learning how this experience was much more difficult than the previous 3. It also seems like Bob is always looking or finding these properties to fold into the Disney brand. I wonder what could be the next one?

A fellow student

Why is Hulu in both places of the chart (existing Disney groups and 21ST Century Fox)?