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Ever since rumblings first surfaced that Disney had talks about buying 21st Century Fox's film and television assets back in November, everyone has wondered what the future of each company would look like after one of the biggest entertainment mergers in history. Half a year and a bidding war later, shareholders for Disney and Fox voted to approve the merger of the two companies in July. Even though that crucial hurdle has now been cleared, Disney and Fox haven't announced their plans and vision for the merger. 21st Century Fox CEO, James Murdoch explained the reasoning for this, saying:
We haven't been, and we won't be, getting into any gun-jumping around trying to guess what comes next. We're trying to operate the business on an as-is basis as effectively as we can.
Speaking on a conference call with Wall Street analysts, as reported by Deadline, James Murdoch seems to not want to put the cart before the horse, and announce any grand plans before all the t's are crossed and the i's dotted. Fox will be essentially conducting 'business as usual' and operating the company as it normally would if there weren't a $71.3 billion merger in the offing. One imagines that there probably are plans in the making for the merger, but they won't be announced just yet.
This conservative approach is likely so both studios could cover their bases, at least until steps move forward for the merger. The shareholders of both companies have approved the deal and it has been approved by the Department of Justice, with conditions like requiring Disney to divest of Fox's regional sports networks. Those were the two biggest hurdles to clear, but the deal still needs the approval of a few more regulatory agencies around the world before it is finalized. James Murdoch stated that Fox does not expect the Disney deal to close before the first half of 2019.
It was previously suspected that James Murdoch could be in line to replace Bob Iger, but it now looks like he will be leaving the company to go into venture capital. Regardless, the impact of this deal on the companies and the industry will be significant, and beyond just what it means for our favorite film properties and how it impacts streaming services. People's jobs will also be affected, but it looks like we will have to wait a bit to find out exactly how.
Although many film fans are excited and curious about what this deal portends, I wouldn't expect to hear about Fantastic Four or the X-Men in Phase 4 of the MCU until the ink dries on this deal sometime next year. We'll keep you updated on this deal as it rounds the bases towards home. Keep it locked to CinemaBlend for all your movie news and check out our premiere guide for all the biggest movies still to come this year.