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Fox Family costs Mouse less cheese in final deal

With $100 mil discount, ABC Family channel a go

HOLLYWOOD — Disney closed on its acquisition of the Fox Family basic-cable web and related international assets Wednesday for $2.9 billion cash plus $2.3 billion in debt assumption.

The terms rep, as expected, a $100 million reduction from the cash component penciled into a July definitive agreement (Daily Variety, Oct. 24). Disney sought a review of the original deal terms after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks accelerated an ad slowdown at U.S. broadcast and cable webs.

“We are pleased to have completed this strategic acquisition,” Disney chairman-CEO Michael Eisner said.

The Mouse House plans to rebrand Fox Family as ABC Family and partly program the channel with shows from its ABC broadcast web. Conglom also plans eventually to rebrand Fox Kids international TV operations that come along in the transaction.

Prior to the transaction, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. and Haim Saban’s Saban Entertainment each had 49.5% stakes in Fox Family Worldwide, parent company both to Fox Family and the international assets. Investment bank Allen & Co. held a 1% interest.

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