Disney’s $52 billion-dollar acquisition of 21st Century Fox is being slammed by Hollywood writers.
The Writers Guild of America issued a statement on Thursday criticizing the deal as a further consolidation of power which will make it even tougher for creatives to get fair wages.
“In the relentless drive to eliminate competition, big business has an insatiable appetite for consolidation. Disney and Fox have spent decades profiting from the oligopolistic control that the six major media conglomerates have exercised over the entertainment industry, often at the expense of the creators who power their television and film operations. Now, this proposed merger of direct competitors will make matters even worse by substantially increasing the market power of a combined Disney-Fox corporation. The antitrust concerns raised by this deal are obvious and significant. The Writers Guild of America West strongly opposes this merger and will work to ensure our nation’s antitrust laws are enforced.”
Every few years the writers’ union battles with film and TV studios over its contract terms and has struggled over the last couple decades to ensure writers are paid fair wages as digital distribution avenues become an increasingly crucial part of how studios make money.
Earlier, The Walt Disney Co. announced it will purchase Fox’s studio assets, including its movie and TV divisions, for $52.4 billion in stock.
This will shift a large part of the Rupert Murdoch-controlled Fox to the Mouse House, as Disney acquires the 20th Century Fox movie and TV divisions and cable channels, including its back catalog of films and shows. For film fans, that means the film rights to X-Men and Deadpool will now revert back to Disney-owned Marvel, while the studio also takes ownership of James Cameron’s Avatar franchise.
Disney also will buy Fox’s majority stake in Hulu’s video streaming service. Disney has hinted about creating its own streaming option and ending participation with rivals like Netflix, and this would seem to open up a new option.
Disney CEO Bob Iger will also stay on at the company through 2021, the announcement said. Iger was previously set to exit in 2019.
Fox News and Fox Sports would be among the non-entertainment Fox elements that will not be included in the deal, but will instead be rearranged “into a newly listed company that will be spun off to its shareholders,” Disney’s announcement said. — Anthony Breznican contributed to this report