The Disney and Fox deal is expected to be officially finalized by Thursday. The whole process has not been a walk in the park for both camps. On top of the legalities that need to be taken care of, Disney has also faced competition, with both Sony and Comcast joining the bidding war to acquire 21 Century Fox’s TV and movie division (which is worth $60 billion). In the end, the House of Mouse emerged as the clear winner, after Comcast backed out of the race on Monday.
Admittedly, not everyone is happy with the game-changing move. With its own set of risks, several industry people – including Logan director James Mangold and Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld – have expressed their concerns regarding the purchase and how it could affect the movie-making business in the future in a negative way. However, with the deal only waiting to be announced now, it’s safe to assume that there’s nothing more that can be said to prevent what’s coming.
According to CNBC (citing sources that have personal knowledge of the matter), Fox and Disney are currently on a “glide path” towards the merger and if everything goes according to plan, it will be formalized this Thursday with a presser. That would be on-schedule with reports last week that the sale could fully materialize sometime this week. The package will reportedly include Fox’s A&E and Star TV networks, its regional sports operation, as well as stakes in both Sky and Hulu, and IPs like The Simpsons and Avatar; not to mention the unaltered version of the original Star Wars trilogy. It’s particularly huge for Marvel fans as it means that Marvel Studios could regain control over their mutant IPs. Meanwhile, current Fox shareholders will reportedly get one share of the company that remains after the buyout, along with shares of Disney in a fixed exchange ratio.
Disney’s plans – once they officially get their hands on the massive Fox portfolio – remains to be seen, but word has it that it has something to do with stacking up their IPs in preparation for launching the Disney streaming service come 2019. This huge acquisition has evoked differing views and continues to be a popular topic of conversation among industry people, as well as casual fans. Some are in favor of the deal, especially those who consider the countless narrative opportunity for Marvel Studios to finally get their hands on the X-Men and Fantastic Four. Others, meanwhile, tend to look at the bigger picture and how this buyout could impact the whole industry. One less major film Hollywood studio could lead to fewer jobs and more streamlined content, resulting to a lack of variety when it comes to both films and TV shows.
That said, it’s hard to fathom that Disney will spend billions of money and not capitalize on the assets that Fox has already built in its storied history, including their successful R-rated projects (similar to what Disney did with Miramax in the 1990s). Looking back at the House of Mouse’s buyouts over the years (with Bob Iger at the helm) of Marvel Studios, Pixar, and Lucasfilm, all of the companies have flourished under the conglomerate, making it a win-win situation for all parties involved, and most importantly for fans. It’s possible that Fox will function the same way the aforementioned subsidiaries have – retaining its name, control of most of its IPs, and its iconic studio theme and banner, just with the backing from Disney.
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