Disney today began the process of laying off 20th Century Fox employees, a move that has been anticipated since Disney completed its acquisition of most of Fox's assets earlier this week.
Revealed by The Hollywood Reporter, Disney is informing staffers from department to department, with some being kept on for a transitional period between three and six months. Among those affected is Chris Aronson, president of film distribution, who has been given 60 days notice.
While it isn't clear how many people will lose their jobs because of the merger, analysts estimate that roughly 4,000 of the conglomerate's 200,000 jobs could be lost, with Rich Greenfield of BTIG estimating more -- 5,000 to 10,000 -- across a larger time frame. But according to Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger, there's a silver lining to this.
"We've spent the last year exploring the new opportunities and synergies generated by bringing our two legendary companies together," Iger stated in a memo following the closing of the deal. "Leaders across both organizations have worked closely together to understand how to best unlock this potential and unleash innovation and creativity to create long-term growth. We're confident in our integration strategy and our ability to execute it effectively; and we're inspired and energized by the new possibilities."
"Our integration process will be an evolution, with some businesses impacted more than others," Iger continued. "We've made critical decisions already, but some areas still require further evaluation."
Disney had been in talks to buy 20th Century Fox since 2017, with the purchase being completed this Tuesday. The layoffs have occurred just as Disney is ready to launch its Disney+ streaming service, which may offer new employment opportunities in the future.