Earlier this year, history was made in the entertainment world, when the Walt Disney Company acquired 20th Century Fox. Based off of new reporting, the more negative effects of that deal are beginning to be seen.
Both Variety and Deadline are reporting that layoffs are currently occurring on both the Disney and Fox sides of the umbrella. While the exact number of employees is currently unknown, Deadline claims that "the cuts are wide-spread across Walt Disney Studios", and are deeper than the previous two batches. The exits are reportedly timed for early June, and reportedly won't result in any particular department of both companies being completely wiped out.
The topic of potential layoffs has swirled around the Disney/Fox deal quite a bit, with previous reports suggesting that anywhere from 4,000 to 10,000 jobs could be cut in the process.
“Disney expects over $2 billion in synergies from the Fox acquisition, with the overwhelming majority of that from cost-savings–meaning job cuts,” industry analyst Rich Greenfield wrote in December of 2017. While the expected reduction of film releases is itself a form of job shrinkage, more significant layoffs are on the horizon. “In order to reduce costs by upwards of $2 billion, we believe Disney will need to cut well-over 5,000 jobs and the number could easily swell toward 10,000 given the high degree of overlap between the two companies around the world.”
Disney Chairman Bob Iger seemed to hint at these potential firings when the acquisition first went through, indicating that it would be part of the "evolution" of the two companies coming together.
“Our integration process will be an evolution, with some businesses impacted more than others,” Iger wrote in a statement earlier this year. “We’ve made many critical decisions already, but some areas still require further evaluation. We may not have answers to all of your questions at this moment but we understand how vital information is, and we’re committed to moving as quickly as possible to provide clarity regarding how your role may be impacted.”
"This is an extraordinary and historic moment for us -- one that will create significant long-term value for our company and our shareholders," Iger continued. "Combining Disney's and 21st Century Fox's wealth of creative content and proven talent creates the preeminent global entertainment company, well positioned to lead in an incredibly dynamic and transformative era.”
Even outside of this particular batch of layoffs, the industry has already begun to see the less-than-positive effects of the acquisition, with Twentieth Television president Greg Meidel getting axed, and the Fox 2000 film studio being shut down as well.