The Disney/Fox merger has been drawing nearer, but it’s finally come time for one giant studio to swallow another. Disney has officially announced that its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox will close on March 20. Jiminy Crickets!
After the House of Mouse received its last major approval from regulators in Mexico, the company announced the formal date for the closing process, per Variety. The deal between the two major studios is certainly a huge game-changer for the entire media landscape and will officially start taking shape next Wednesday.
Walt Disney Studios will soon have control over Fox’s film, television studios and cable channels, including National Geographic and FX. Disney will also obtain Fox’s 30% holdings in Hulu, in addition to its own 30%, giving the studio a 60% majority share and own 39% in European satellite company, Sky. However, Disney was not approved by government regulators to take over Fox’s regional sports channels since it already owns ESPN.
Disney will also assume over $13 billion in net debt from Fox ,and the merger is expected to prompt as many as 4000 layoffs in positions that overlap between the two companies. The inception of a new entity of the Fox Corporation that will include the assets that will not be part of the Disney deal will also launch in line with the closing date of the Disney/Fox merger.
The closing of the deal could be good news for Marvel fans excited for the X-Men and the Fantastic Four to potentially be part of the same family as Disney’s MCU. Some of Fox’s major franchises such as the Alien, Predator, Kingsman, Die Hard and Night of the Museum would also be under Disney’s new umbrella and could potentially have a presence in Disney’s theme parks in the future.
Fox joins Disney’s holdings just as the company gears up for the launch of its own streaming service, Disney+, later this year, which is set to include every film in the Disney library along, as well original movies and television shows from the Star Wars, the Marvel universe and more.
Disney CEO and Chairman Bob Iger has reportedly taken a pay cut in light of the merger, as a $500,000 annual increase to his base salary and $8 million increase in bonus was agreed to be eliminated from his paycheck – though his approximately $15 million salary still stands as one of the highest salaries for a media executive.
Disney is heading into perhaps one of its biggest years ever as three big live-action remakes, three MCU films (including an impressive $455 worldwide opening start for Captain Marvel over the weekend), two huge animated sequels and Star Wars: Episode IX are coming out, along with the opening of Galaxy’s Edge in the parks. The closing of the Fox deal only expands this. Mickey Mouse means business… and perhaps world domination?