Though the official forecast for the close of the Disney–Fox merger is set for early 2019, personnel moves made this week by Fox have some insiders believing that the deal could be closed sometime this year.
Promotions for five top Fox executives were announced, along with several other organizational realignments, all of which are contingent upon the close of the $71.3 billion deal with Disney, Deadline reports. An announcement this early in the process has led some to surmise that a deal close between the two corporations could be happening sooner rather than later.
Shareholders of The Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox voted in July to approve the purchase of several key Fox assets by Disney, including control of Fox’s film and television production studios, bringing the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool properties into the Marvel Studios fold.
This does come as a bit of a surprise, even with the fact that the Disney/Fox merger has been a genuine possibility since last December and the notion that the entire process could take 12 to 18 months total. Quite a few regulatory hurdles have come up so far this year, but this seems to signify that things are going pretty well.
Fox News, Fox Broadcasting and most Fox Sports assets will be spun off into a new company. Previously referred to as “New Fox,” a memo released by Lachlan Murdoch, the soon-to-be chairman and CEO of the new company, seems to indicate that the company will now go by FOX. FOX will be owned by 21st Century Fox shareholders and operated by the Murdoch family.