Did Disney Buy a Dud With Fox? The $71 Billion Deal Is Weighing Bob Iger Down

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The box-office success of “Avatar: The Way of Water” may disguise the problems the Hollywood megadeal brought

Disney investor fight causes relitigation of Disney's big Fox purchase

Was Disney right to pay $71 billion for Fox’s entertainment empire? The sprawling properties it brought in-house helped fuel Disney+ and have given returning CEO Bob Iger a much-needed box office hit with “Avatar: The Way of Water” as he settles back into his old chair.

But investors are scrutinizing spending much more closely than they used to. Disney still carries a hefty debt load from the Fox deal and Iger’s rebound tenure has a time limit as he searches once again for a successor.

As adult-skewing movies struggle in theaters and Wall Street changes the rules in the streaming war, Disney’s purchase of Fox’s studio properties may prove to be Iger’s biggest blunder, dealing lasting damage to the company’s reputation among shareholders for media-merger magic.