Disney and Fox Facing $1.75 Billion Lawsuit Over Theme Park

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If you want to know just how complicated the deal between Disney and 20th Century Fox really is, then look no further than this latest story, below:

In a new report, it's been revealed that both Disney and Fox are now facing a $1.75 billion-dollar lawsuit (which may be getting bigger) from one Genting Malaysia Berhad. That lawsuit claims that in light of the Disney / Fox merger, Fox has pulled the plug on a "Fox World" theme park that was to be built in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. The theme park was to be a "first-class, wolrdclass" park, which was themed after various 20th Century Fox properties. One of the first parks described in the suit would've utilized Fox film franchises like Ice Age or Planet of the Apes for its rides, activities and aesthetic.

Here's the what the lawsuit filing in Los Angeles (from President Trump's personal legal team of Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, no less) alleges about the Disney/Fox deal, and how it has unfairly impacted Genting Malaysia Berhad:

"On information and belief, Fox’s soon-to-be owner Disney was now calling the shots, and its objective was no longer renegotiation of the MOA (Memorandum of Agreement), but termination. Permitting the ‘Fox’ brand to attach to a theme park over which FOX would have no control for what could amount to decades would have created business complications that Disney and 21CF preferred to avoid. Thus, on information and belief, Disney and 21CF, with knowledge of the Agreement, improperly directed FEG to terminate the Agreement.”

In the full breakdown of the legal filing (read that here), Genting alleges that it was given just 30 days to have the park open, or the deal would become null and void. The company asserts that this deadline was impossible to meet (as Fox knew), and was just a tactic to help clear the deal out of Disney's way. The filing further asserts that Disney's family brand was no a match for the gambling leanings of a gaming company like GENM:

"Unlike Fox, which was perfectly happy to have the Park situated a stone’s throw from the casinos of Resorts World Genting so long as it could continue to extract financial concessions from GENM, Disney wanted no association with a gaming company like GENM due to Disney’s ‘family-friendly’ brand strategy, as evidenced by its well-documented history of lobbying against the opening of gaming facilities near its parks."

As stated, this is just one small example of why the Disney / Fox deal has been such a minefield to navigate - and why the finalization of it isn't as quick and easy as some fans want it to be. In terms of this particular lawsuit, Disney and Fox have already clapped back with a statement to Deadline:

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“This lawsuit is entirely without merit. As the Complaint itself makes clear, Genting has been failing to meet the agreed-on deadlines for several years, long before the 21CF-Disney agreement. The allegation that Disney, rather than Fox, finally decided to declare a default is simply made up. We look forward to presenting all the facts in the appropriate forum.”

Theme parks are certainly big, costly, time-consuming investments - but they also pay off big. Disney brought in $20.3B in global park revenue last fiscal year. It'll be interesting to see how quickly and/or cleanly (or not) this particular suit gets resolved. We'll keep you updated.