Disney’s deal to buy the majority of Fox’s entertainment assets may be finalised in a matter of months. Variety reports that Fox executive Peter Rice informed employees this week that the logistics of the buyout–including things like how the payroll changeover will happen–should be in place by January 1.
After that, the deal is expected to officially close in the first half of 2019. There is also the matter of approval from regulatory bodies, which could affect the acquisition timeline.
Rice held a town hall meeting on the Fox lot where employees were given the opportunity to ask questions. Rice reportedly said the move will result in layoffs, with sources at the meeting telling Variety that the job cuts will come from divisions getting acquired by Disney and less at those that aren’t, such as Fox Sports, Fox News, and Fox Broadcasting.
The question of culture clash also came up, and Rice pointed out that Disney successfully welcomed companies like Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Marvel into the fold, with each company retaining its independence and culture to some degree.
Still, the topic of impending layoffs looms large for Fox employees ahead of the buyout. One staffer told Variety that working at Fox right now is like being on death row.
Disney is paying an enormous $71.3 billion to acquire the majority of Fox’s entertainment assets. Disney will get the 21st Century Fox movie and TV studios, as well as a number of cable TV networks and international TV businesses. As mentioned, Fox News and Fox Sports are not part of the deal, and will instead remain with a company called New Fox. As part of the deal, Disney will get big-name properties such as X-Men, Avatar, and The Simpsons.