Variety has reported that 21st Century Fox President Peter Rice informed his employees that Fox would be ready for the merger with Disney on New Year’s Day. The full acquisition is expected to be complete before June 2019, which involves transitioning of the Fox employees and the organising of various assets.
Rice, who will be changing his role as President of 21st Century Fox and Chairman/CEO of Fox Networks to be the Chairman of Walt Disney Television/Co-Chair of Disney Media Networks had reportedly given assurance to the transitioning employees. His comments related to a lack of a “culture clash” with Disney based on dialogue with Disney CEO Bob Iger who promised an embrace of “Fox culture” and the desire to take it to the “next level”. “Disney is the only studio started by an artist. It’s fundamentally creative. It’s not a cable company, not a phone company, it has creativity at its core.”
Though the details above seem promising there are unfortunately inevitable layoffs that will occur as a result of the merger. A report by Deadline states that Disney is expected to lay off nearly 5,000 people (2,300 from Fox; 1,700 from Disney) following the merger. Insiders and analysts are estimating that this number will be doubled before everything is set in place.
The merger was originally confirmed on 14th December 2017, when The Walt Disney Company announced a definitive agreement to acquire 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion in stock. Comcast was originally in the running to acquire Fox, placing a $65 billion bid, but later dropped out.
By HW Reynolds
Image provided by Walt Disney/20th Century Fox