It’s done. Disney‘s acquisition of 21st Century Fox is complete, but while Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger remarked, “This is an extraordinary and historic moment for us,” he also cautioned that Disney was just beginning “the challenging work of uniting our businesses.” He also added, “Our integration process will be an evolution, with some businesses impacted more than others.”
In an internal memo, he wrote:
“As you know, Disney has never been short on ambition. We’ve never been satisfied with the status quo, and our vision for this transformative era is our boldest yet. We are rapidly transforming our company to take full advantage of evolving consumer trends and emerging technology in order to thrive in this new and exciting time.
“Our acquisition of 21st Century Fox was driven by our strong belief that the addition of these great businesses, brands, franchises and talent will allow us to move faster, reach farther and aim higher — especially when it comes to building direct connections with consumers.”
Iger pretty honestly stated that the hardest days may still lie ahead. Reportedly, 4,000 people will be laid off as a result of this merger. But at this point, it doesn’t appear that Disney knows already who will stay and who will go. This will be a lengthy process that could take a year or more.
As Iger wrote:
“I wish I could tell you that the hardest part is behind us; that closing the deal was the finish line, rather than just the next milestone. What lies ahead is 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-defying experiences that will engage consumers around the world for generations to come.
“Out integration process will be an evolution, with some businesses impacted more than others. We’ve made many critical decisions already, but some areas will require further evaluation. We may not have answers to all of your questions at this moment, but we understand how vital information is, and we’re committed to moving as quickly as possible to provide clarity regarding how your role may be impacted.”
These comments came from an internal memo circulated to Disney and Fox employees. The following is the release sent to the press, including ComicBookMovie.com:
At 12:02 a.m. Eastern Time tomorrow, March 20, 2019, The Walt Disney Company’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox will become effective. With 21st Century Fox’s iconic collection of businesses and franchises, Disney will be able to provide more appealing high-quality content and entertainment options to meet growing consumer demand; increase its international footprint; and expand its direct-to-consumer offerings, which include ESPN+ for sports fans, the highly-anticipated Disney+ streaming video-on-demand service launching in late 2019; and Disney and 21st Century Fox’s combined ownership stake in Hulu.
“This is an extraordinary and historic moment for us—one that will create significant long-term value for our company and our shareholders,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “Combining Disney’s and 21st Century Fox’s wealth of creative content and proven talent creates the preeminent global entertainment company, well positioned to lead in an incredibly dynamic and transformative era.”
The acquisition includes 21st Century Fox’s renowned film production businesses, including Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox 2000 Pictures, Fox Family and Fox Animation; Fox’s television creative units, Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Productions and Fox21; FX Networks; National Geographic Partners; Fox Networks Group International; Star India; and Fox’s interests in Hulu, Tata Sky and Endemol Shine Group. Disney and 21st Century Fox entered into a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice last year under which Disney will divest 21st Century Fox’s Regional Sports Networks.
Earlier today, 21st Century Fox completed the spin-off of a portfolio of 21st Century Fox’s news, sports and broadcast businesses, including the FOX News Channel, FOX Business Network, FOX Broadcasting Company, FOX Sports, FOX Television Stations Group, and sports cable networks FS1, FS2, Fox Deportes and Big Ten Network, and certain other assets and liabilities, into Fox Corporation.
Look out for updates as the dust settles.