Disney’s $71.3 billion purchase of the 21st Century Fox — the company behind everything from the Alien movies to The Simpsons — is one of the biggest media mergers ever. It also marks the first time a major movie studio has simply ceased to exist as an independent entity since the decay of MGM in the 1980s, taking the number of big movie studios in Hollywood from six down to five (Disney, Warner Bros., Sony, Universal, and Paramount).
And as of 12:02 am Eastern time on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, the merger is officially complete.
In this era of ever-accelerating media consolidation, the implications of this deal are pretty staggering — not to mention alarming to anyone who’s at all concerned about said consolidation. And if you’re an employee of either Disney or the former Fox, the threat of expected layoffs hangs over your head. So the deal comes complete with lots of dark portents.
But not everything is set in stone about how this new mega-company will function. There’s still plenty that even the people working for Fox and Disney don’t know about how the company will be structured. There are early plans, of course, but making something work on paper is very different from making it work in reality, and more questions are sure to be raised. Many of these questions will be answered in the coming months, while some will take years to figure out.