Thursday, March 21, 2019

Thursday's Headlines | Disney + News

Disney CEO Bob Iger is already gearing up for the next phase of the company on the heels of its acquisition of 21st Century Fox, which closed Wednesday.

The $71 billion acquisition adds a number of beloved entertainment assets to Disney's collection as it prepares to launch its streaming service among a crowded field of competitors. Disney can count shows from Fox Channels like "Modern Family" and "This Is Us" as well as properties like Marvel's "X-Men" to its library on Disney+, which is expected to launch later this year.

In a note to employees shared with CNBC, Iger thanked members of both organizations on 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 growing pains are likely to include layoffs, which are expected to be in the thousands, as Disney and Fox pare down 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.

The Disney-Fox deal follows another high profile media merger. AT&T acquired Time Warner last year for $81 billion and has plans to launch a new streaming service later this year that will include HBO. With Disney's acquisition, it hopes to build a compelling content library to compete with tech companies that are also keen on streaming, including Netflix, Amazon and Apple.