AKIPRESS.COM - Walt Disney Co. completed its $71 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox Inc.’s entertainments assets, and now must get to the task of squeezing out promised cost savings, an effort that will lead to thousands of firings in the film and TV business, Bloomberg reports.
With the deal, Disney takes over a portfolio that includes the 104-year-old 20th Century Fox studio, the FX and National Geographic cable networks, and an additional 30 percent of Hulu, the online video service. To make the deal work financially and support the company’s costly efforts to compete with Netflix Inc., Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger has promised $2 billion in cost savings, a commitment that all but assures epic job cuts.
The deal is one of the most dramatic in the current wave of entertainment-industry mergers, shrinking the number of major Hollywood studios to five from six and putting the irreverent Homer Simpson and “Family Guy” in the same stable of cartoon characters as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. The closing follows a nearly two-year effort that included a bidding war and regulatory compromises from Brussels to Brasilia.
Underscoring the looming human cost, Disney is taking on 15,400 Fox employees, while the smaller new Fox Corp. will keep about 7,000. Last August, executives at Burbank, California-based Disney said they’ll achieve their targeted savings over two years, with the U.S. operations bearing the brunt early on. The Hollywood Reporter said last month that 4,000 jobs will be lost.