Even if you’ve never personally been part of a business merger of any kind (and I have), it’s not hard to predict many of the things that will happen as a result. When two companies that used to do largely the same thing come together, you end up with one company that has a lot more employees doing the same job than it may necessarily need. That means layoffs. When two companies the size of Disney and 20th Century Fox come together, that’s a lot of employees, and that means a lot of potential layoffs. Specifically, 7,500 people are expected to end up unemployed as a result of the merger.
Needless to say, 7,500 people is a lot of people who likely will be viewed as redundant after the dust settles. The Disney/Fox merger is expected to be finalized on paper as early as next week. We likely won’t see a bunch of people out of work on day one. A lot of the work of combining these two massive companies together likely hasn’t even started yet, waiting for the merger to become official.
Certainly, not everybody coming on board is going to lose their job. Fox, and its various subsidiary divisions, is going to remain as a separate distribution label under the Disney umbrella, similar to Marvel Studios or Lucasfilm. Those parts of the company will still need people to run them and handle various jobs inside.
While it’s easy to assume that layoffs will hurt a lot of the people in smaller positions, and it certainly will, nobody is entirely immune from layoffs. The new company doesn’t necessarily need any more vice presidents or other top level executives than it already has, so some layoffs will take place at every level. Though, certainly things will hurt the lower level employees more.
Most of these layoffs will likely come from the Fox side of things. Disney is the company retaining control over the new company, it’s easier for Disney to simply keep all its people in place and simply add in the necessary Fox people, but there’s no way to know for sure.
It shows just how big the new Walt Disney Company will be that it is adding an entirely new film division, some smaller film subsidiaries, like Fox Searchlight, as well as new cable channels, and more, and will still need to layoff something close to 7,500 people. THR says that the massive merger between AT&T and Time Warner won’t result in nearly as many lost jobs. While there are some undeniably cool things that a Disney/Fox merger may create on the content side of things, it can’t be overstated that this merger is changing the media landscape forever.
Wheels will begin turning next week once the merger is official and the new Walt Disney Company begins to move forward and figure out what it is going to be. Hopefully, the people who find themselves without a home in the new company won’t be without a job for too long.