It’s official! After a lengthy process, the Walt Disney Company announced that it has acquired Twenty-First Century Fox for a cool $71 billion, as of March 20. The industry-shaking move is paving the way for Disney’s streaming service, Disney Plus, rolling out later this year. But the merger of the two major media companies is also expected to lead to major layoffs (believed to be in the thousands) to eliminate duplications in staffing, according to CNBC.
The day of the announcement, Disney CEO Bob Iger wrote a lengthy memo to Disney employees announcing the deal: “I’m proud to announce the acquisition is complete and 21st Century Fox is now part of The Walt Disney Company. I’d like to welcome our new colleagues, and thank employees on both sides of the deal for your patience and perseverance as we worked through the lengthy acquisition and regulatory process.”
Iger did vaguely address the looming personnel cuts when he wrote that the road ahead will hold “the challenging work of uniting our businesses to create a dynamic, global entertainment company with the content, the platforms, and the reach to deliver industry-defining experiences that will engage consumers around the world for generations to come.” Iger also added that the merger “will be an evolution, with some businesses impacted more than others.”
The deal also allows for the merger of characters in highly lucrative film franchises—now Marvel’s X-Men and the Avengers can reunite in future films. Disney already owned Marvel Studios, however, some of the X-Men characters had previously been licensed to Fox. Following the integration, this will no longer be a problem.
Ideally the massive deal will also allow Disney to maintain the control of both film and television shows from the inception to finished product and on to distribution.
On Aug. 8, 2017, the Walt Disney Company released a statement on its website announcing their plan for a streaming service.
The 2017 statement read: “The new Disney-branded service will become the exclusive home in the U.S. for subscription-video-on-demand viewing of the newest live action and animated movies from Disney and Pixar, beginning with the 2019 theatrical slate, which includes Toy Story 4, the sequel to Frozen, and The Lion King from Disney live-action, along with other highly anticipated movies.”
The statement explained that the aim of the service is to showcase the brand’s vast and lengthy library of content, which Disney and Pixar movies and Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD television programming—and will now also include Fox’s massive content library.
Disney has yet to release the pricing for the highly anticipated Disney Plus, but has shared some details of the service, namely that there will be five categories of material: Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic.
But not all of 21st Century Fox is going the way of the House of Mouse. Fox Corp., which includes Fox News, Fox Sports and Fox Broadcasting, is not part of the deal and as of Tuesday, started trading on the Nasdaq under the “FOX” and “FOXA” tickers.