Disney Buys Partial Stake in Epic Games for $1.5 Billion


The Walt Disney Company and Epic Games will collaborate on an all-new games and entertainment universe that will further expand the reach of beloved Disney stories and experiences. Disney will also invest $1.5 billion to acquire an equity stake in Epic Games alongside the multiyear project. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.

In addition to being a world-class games experience and interoperating with Fortnite, the new persistent universe will offer a multitude of opportunities for consumers to play, watch, shop and engage with content, characters and stories from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, Avatar and more. Players, gamers and fans will be able to create their own stories and experiences, express their fandom in a distinctly Disney way, and share content with each other in ways that they love. This will all be powered by Unreal Engine.

Corey Weinberg, at The Information:

Disney’s $1.5 billion investment in Epic Games values the Fortnite maker at $22.5 billion, a person familiar with the matter said. The price is about a 29% drop from where investors last valued the company less than two years ago.

The investment makes the “Fortnite” maker one of the largest private, venture-backed companies to sell new shares at a steep discount since higher interest rates hit tech valuations. Disney’s $1.5 billion investment will dilute existing Epic shareholders by 9%, the person said. The size of the investment would imply a roughly 7% stake in the company.

The interesting third wheel in this relationship is obviously Apple. Apple is exceptionally cozy with Disney — from the whole Steve Jobs thing with Pixar to Bob Iger appearing in last June’s WWDC keynote to help Tim Cook announce Vision Pro. Apple is not so cozy with Epic Games.

Will this change anything on that front? If these new experiences require Fortnite to play, right now that rules out playing them on iPhone, iPad, or Vision Pro, because Epic Games no longer has an Apple developer account for Fortnite.

Thursday, 8 February 2024