Although President Donald Trump told Fox mogul Rupert Murdoch his $52.4 billion deal with Disney “could be great for jobs,” as White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Thursday, business experts suggest otherwise.
In announcing the deal, Disney said it expects at least “$2 billion in cost savings” derived from “efficiencies realized through the combination of businesses,” without elaborating on what that means.
But many analysts say the savings will likely come from job cuts. “There will be thousands of jobs lost,” BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield told CNN. “It is hard to see how any meaningful job creation will come out of this.”
Once the deal closes, Disney “won’t need a lot of the corporate overhead, or two distribution arms in Italy,” Needham & Co. analyst Laura Martin told CNN, making layoffs of redundant employees inevitable.
Gene Del Vecchio, a marketing professor and industry expert at USC’s Marshall School of Business, told the Los Angeles Times that “the layoffs will happen, in all likelihood. They’re apt to be large. When you combine Disney with Fox, you get tremendous synergy.”
If the deal is approved by regulators, Disney would increase its market share and give it outsize power elsewhere in the industry.
BTIG’s Greenfield speculated that Disney’s acquisition of Fox assets could be “a meaningful negative” for theatrical exhibitors, according to Bloomberg. And B. Riley FBR media analyst Barton Crockett told Bloomberg the post-Fox buyout Disney would be “the Walmart of Hollywood.”
Experts are also saying a key factor in who loses their jobs will be the degree to which Fox assets remain separate from Disney. “The merger of two studios creates a situation where there’s going to be some redundancies. That’s a given at this point,” Milken Institute managing economist Kevin Klowden told the L.A. Times.
“The main issue then is how independent does Fox remain?” Klowden added.