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Walt Disney Studios Leaders Say Fox Deal Represents ‘Exciting New Chapter’

Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn and President Alan Bergman are asking Fox staffers to be patient while the company begins the complicated work of integrating the two motion picture teams. Both men were on Fox’s Century City lot for meetings with executives. In a memo, Bergman and Horn said they would try to be as open as possible about the changes that will take place at the entertainment company and said they would soon be making announcements about the film division’s senior leadership structure.

“Day-to-day, our top priorities remain the same: to support the great content we’re creating and deliver a superb experience to our consumers, and to continue to build an inspiring, inclusive environment where employees can bring their best to work every day,” the two men wrote.

They added that deal between Disney and Fox, which brings together such storied film franchises as “Avatar,” “Star Wars,” “X-Men,” and “The Avengers” under one roof, represents “an exciting new chapter in the history of both our companies and the industry.” The men also cautioned staffers to expect “quite a bit of change across our organizations.

The $71.3 billion purchase is one of the biggest deals in Hollywood history. Disney didn’t just buy 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight, the two film studios, it also bought FX, NatGeo, and much of Hulu. There are expected to be as many as 4,000 jobs shed as the two companies merge. Fox’s film team, particularly its marketing and distribution divisions, are expected to be deeply impacted by the cuts.

Disney is making the purchase because it is looking ahead to a world of digital distribution. It is launching several streaming services and believes that Fox’s holdings will augment its content offerings as it tries to attract subscribers.

“It’s astounding and humbling to consider the rich, dynamic legacies of these storied studios and the endless possibilities ahead as we unite them,” Bergman and Horn wrote. “It’s not something we take for granted as leaders, and we are looking forward to working together to build a team of unparalleled creativity and innovation.”

Here’s the full memo:

From: Studio – Alan Horn & Alan Bergman
Subject: A New Chapter for The Walt Disney Studios

With the announcement that the Disney-Fox deal is officially complete, we begin an exciting new chapter in the history of both our companies and the industry. This is a major piece of the bold strategy Bob Iger has set for The Walt Disney Company as our business rapidly evolves.

It’s astounding and humbling to consider the rich, dynamic legacies of these storied studios and the endless possibilities ahead as we unite them. It’s not something we take for granted as leaders, and we are looking forward to working together to build a team of unparalleled creativity and innovation.

We’ve learned a lot in meetings held prior to deal close, yet there are many things that could not be discussed for regulatory reasons. We are happy to now have the chance to really understand and share how we operate at the ground level – and we realize we are only at the beginning of the process.

Although there is much to look forward to, we know this integration will entail quite a bit of change across our organizations. We want to acknowledge that and assure you we are committed to engaging in this process thoughtfully and communicating changes as we are able – most importantly with respect for all involved.

We’ll be making announcements very soon about our senior leadership structure. It will take some time to reach our future fully integrated state. Day-to-day, our top priorities remain the same: to support the great content we’re creating and deliver a superb experience to our consumers, and to continue to build an inspiring, inclusive environment where employees can bring their best to work every day.

As we start this journey of bringing together the combined might of Disney and 21st Century Fox to create the best entertainment studio, we’d like to thank you all for everything you’ve done to bring us to this point and for your continued focus, support, and patience as we proceed.

Sincerely,

Alan Horn

Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios

Alan Bergman

President, The Walt Disney Studios

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