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The industry-altering deal between Disney and Fox won't officially go through until sometime early next year, but its effects are already being felt. The union of these giants will create a leviathan unlike anything we've seen before. Despite the size of the $71.3 billion dollar purchase, there won't be room for everyone once it is complete and many of the staff at 20th Century Fox are reportedly expecting layoffs.
As with any corporate merger, there are bound to be redundancies that result in layoffs. For the past 10 months since the news first came out about Disney buying 21st Century Fox's assets, employees have been working under that looming dread. According to Variety, employees at the 20th Century Fox film studio have compared the experience to being on death row, not knowing if or when the ax will fall.
Some of the employees at 20th Century Fox say they know they are likely to be laid off, but they are being largely kept in the dark about the situation, so nothing is certain. Disney isn't being forthcoming with its plans and hasn't given much clarity about what things will look like or how they will operate or what the structure will be once the deal closes. So, employees are just working and waiting for their fate to be decided, at which point many may be looking for work.
It isn't just lower level people who may be out jobs either. As we learned yesterday, current 20th Century Fox CEO Stacey Snider will not be hired by Disney and will have to find work elsewhere. Disney is expected to take on some of Fox's executives but formal offers have not yet been made for the movie division.
Apparently, some executives and staffers have already made their exit and found other jobs in advance of the merger; however, when the deal closes or Disney announces its plans, it's possible dozens or hundreds or thousands may be looking for work. It would seem the longer it takes for Disney to announce those plans the less advance warning these employees would have about their futures.
The complete uncertainty among the Fox staffers is due to Disney's opaqueness about its plans. We don't know if Fox will become a label under Disney or be completely assimilated. Like Disney, Fox is a many-tentacled beast and Fox 2000, Fox Searchlight, 20th Century Fox Animation and all the movies in development have futures that are unclear.
Since the deal was announced, the corporate line has implied it was 'business as usual' until the deal closes. But as you can see from this recent story, it really hasn't been. The reality is that a lot of people have been feeling, at least, that they are working under a ticking clock, hidden from their view. They don't know if or when their time could be up.
On the other side of things, as movie and superhero fans, Disney's purchase of 21st Century Fox is incredibly exciting. The union of Marvel heroes like the X-Men with the Avengers in the MCU is cause for celebration, but the union of these two companies may not be quite as joyous.
The deal is expected to close in January so around then we should have a better idea of what the future holds for Fox, Disney and the industry as a whole. On a slightly less dour note, there are plenty of movies, from both Fox and Disney, still headed to theaters this year. Check them out in our release schedule.