March 20, 2019: Walt Disney once said: “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” Well, his legacy lives on today in many ways, but here is the latest way Disney CEO Bob Iger is carrying on Walt’s ambitious dream! Iger is looking toward the future as the company closed the $71 billion deal with Twenty-First Century Fox. The merger that closed today adds a lot of valuable entertainment to Disney’s already strong collection. Disney is also preparing to launch its new streaming service and can now count shows from Fox productions like “Bob’s Burgers”, “The Simpsons”, “Modern Family” and “This Is Us” as well as properties like Marvel’s “X-Men”, “The Sound of Music” and “Anastasia” to its library on Disney+. The streaming service is expected to launch later in 2019 and will also include newly acquired National Geographic, Fox FanFare and Fox Searchlight adding even more value. Disney+ will be tough competition for streaming services Amazon and Netflix, among others.
In a note to employees shared with CNBC, Iger thanked members of both organizations for their “patience and perseverance” leading up to the acquisition. He quickly turned to the road ahead, which he says will hold “the challenging work of uniting our businesses to create a dynamic, global entertainment company with the content, the platforms, and the reach to deliver industry-defining experiences that will engage consumers around the world for generations to come.”
Some of those challenges will include layoffs, expected to be in the thousands, as Disney and Fox thin out duplicate staff. Iger said the integration “will be an evolution, with some businesses impacted more than others.” Fox and Disney have overlap in their film production staffs. As with all things in life, this will be a rough time for many and an exciting time for others.
Here’s the full message from Iger to employees after the deal’s close:
Subject: A Historic Day for Our Company
I’m proud to announce the acquisition is complete and 21st Century Fox is now part of The Walt Disney Company. I’d like to welcome our new colleagues, and thank employees on both sides of the deal for your patience and perseverance as we worked through the lengthy acquisition and regulatory process.
As you know, Disney has never been short on ambition. We’ve never been satisfied with the status quo, and our vision for this transformative era is our boldest yet. We are rapidly transforming our company to take full advantage of evolving consumer trends and emerging technology in order to thrive in this new and exciting time.
Our acquisition of 21st Century Fox was driven by our strong belief that the addition of these great businesses, brands, franchises and talent will allow us to move faster, reach farther and aim higher – especially when it comes to building direct connections with consumers.
I wish I could tell you that the hardest part is behind us; that closing the deal was the finish line, rather than just the next milestone. What lies ahead is the challenging work of uniting our businesses to create a dynamic, global entertainment company with the content, the platforms, and the reach to deliver industry-defining experiences that will engage consumers around the world for generations to come.
We’ve spent the last year exploring the new opportunities and synergies generated by bringing our two legendary companies together. Leaders across both organizations have worked closely together to understand how to best unlock this potential and unleash innovation and creativity to generate long-term growth. We’re confident in our integration strategy and in our ability to execute it effectively; and we’re inspired and energized by the new possibilities.
Our integration process will be an evolution, with some businesses impacted more than others. 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.
Having been on both sides of numerous acquisitions during my career, I have a deep appreciation for how this one impacts everyone involved, on both a personal and professional level. I understand the challenges, and I ask for your continued patience in the days to come as we combine this collection of great assets to create the world’s premier entertainment company.
I am looking forward to seeing all that this new acquisition brings to Disney fans and Fox fans alike! I think this could be the start of something beautiful in so many ways! What do you think of Disney’s latest acquisition? And all of the ramifications that will come along with it?