Disney will lease Fox’s extremely valuable studio lot in Century City

Agreement for 52-acre plot runs for 7 years

Fox Studios Lot (Credit: 3blmedia, Pixabay)
Fox Studios Lot (Credit: 3blmedia, Pixabay)

As part of the $52.4 billion acquisition that’s sending shockwaves through the entertainment industry, Walt Disney Co. will lease the massive Fox studios site in Century City, a top executive for 21st Century Fox said Thursday.

In a conference call with employees, 21st Century Fox president Andrew Rice said the Murdoch family would be keeping the 52-acre real estate plot on Pico Boulevard, but would lease the property to Disney for seven years, Variety reported.

Real estate insiders told Deadline on Wednesday that the lot could be valued at up to $1.8 billion. About 1.8 million square feet of the 2.3-million-square-foot property was developed as of 2015, when Fox submitted a “master plan” to the city to develop another 1.1 million square feet, Deadline reported. The county assessor’s office in June said the remaining undeveloped land was valued at around $422 million.

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 The Murdochs are spinning off Fox’s real estate and the businesses they aren’t selling — namely Fox News, Fox Sports and Fox Broadcasting Company — into a separate firm.

Rice said no employees will be moved from the site in the near future, but acknowledged that layoffs will eventually happen. “I’ve been here for 30 years, and I never in my lifetime thought that Rupert (Murdoch) would sell,” Rice reportedly said in the hour-long meeting.

The acquisition by Disney valued 21st Century Fox at $28 a share. The agreement is subject to anti-trust regulators.

[Variety and Deadline] — Konrad Putzier