Disney/Fox Merger Might Be Ready To Close On January 1st, According To Top Executive

Disney/Fox Merger Might Be Ready To Close On January 1st, According To Top Executive

According to new comments from Peter Rice, Disney's long-expected acquisition of 21st Century Fox might actually be ready to close on January 1st, 2019; which is nearly seven months ahead of schedule!

Well, everyone's annual New Year's party just got a whole lot more interesting. 

Variety is reporting that top Fox executive Peter Rice told staffers today, during a Town Hall meeting, that the deal for Disney's pending acquisition of 21st Century Fox should be ready to close on the first day of the new calendar year with the full acquisition expected to be complete before the end of the first half of 2019 (i.e. Fox's organizational process; the actual transition of employees is expected to take around a year or so after the transaction is finalized). 

Rice is the current President of 21st Century Fox and Chairman and CEO of Fox Networks and once the merger is complete, he will be heading over to Disney to serve as the Chairman of Walt Disney Television and Co-Chair of Disney Media Networks.

He later assured transitioning employees that there would be no culture clash with the House of Mouse as Disney CEO Bob Iger has already told him they would embrace the incoming Fox culture and help take it to the next level. “Disney is the only studio started by an artist. It’s fundamentally creative. It’s not a cable company, not a phone company, it has creativity at its core.

As expected, Rice also, unfortunately, confirmed a significant round of layoffs and while he didn't elaborate much further, Deadline reports that Disney is expected to lay off nearly 5,000 people (2,300 from Fox; 1,700 from Disney) following the merger. Some insiders and analysts are estimating the number of layoffs to be significantly higher, potentially nearing 10,000 before the dust settles. 

So, what about the X-Men and Fantastic Four? Well, we still don't have any concrete answers on that front, but judging by these new details, it seems an integration into the Marvel Cinematic Universe is definitely coming, but it probably won't be as immediate as some are hoping, despite the deal potentially becoming official on January 1st.

Marvel Studios already has Captain Marvel (March 8), Avengers 4 (May 3), and Spider-Man: Far From Home (July 5) on their release calendar and has at least two more films set to begin production early next year, so it was always unlikely the incoming characters would debut before Kevin Feige revealed his Phase 4 slate. Also, despite the delays, it remains increasingly probable that both Dark Phoenix (June 7) and The New Mutants (August 2) will be released theatrically since it wouldn't make much financial sense for Disney to scrap either project if they're completed and/or nearing completion before the deal closes.
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