India: The Disney-Fox Merger And Its Ramification

Last Updated: 24 January 2018
Article by Siddharth Doshi

The Simpsons show has made a name for itself as a modern-day Nostradamus. 20 years ago, the show predicted Fox's takeover by Disney. On 17th December, 2017, the Walt Disney Co. in a $52.4 billion, all-stock deal, made a bid to acquire 21st Century Fox and its entertainment and sports assets to augment their already asset-rich portfolio1, causing fans of superhero blockbusters worldwide to cheer. However, the deal has several other ramifications on the entertainment industry, some of which the Author attempts to discuss here.

Disney's motivations are clear enough; the media company is morphing into a goliath, and today, there exists no David capable of taking on Disney at its own game. Disney has been on the lookout to "buy either new character or businesses that are capable of creating great characters and great stories"2. The consequences of this merger are manifold. Firstly, and perhaps most obviously, Disney will own the rights to several successful and profitable titles, both TV-shows and movies. Several Marvel Studios properties that were sold off to Fox even before Marvel was bought by Disney will now return to Marvel (vicariously, through Disney). Secondly, Disney's foray into broadcasting will be strengthened, as it now has more content to broadcast, and as it already owns the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) as a means to distribute their programming. Thirdly, Disney will acquire majority control over Hulu, the video-streaming company. Through expansion of Hulu's activities worldwide, Disney can hope to take on the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime, each of which have been steadily building up an extensive library of shows and movies to stream. Fourthly, Disney acquisition with Fox its highly-viewed channels such as National Geographic and FX will boost Disney's advertising portfolio, by making Disney a one-stop-shop for advertisers3. Thus, this merger is not of two rivals coming together; it is instead, a consolidation of complementary behemoths, the merger nothing more than a marriage of convenience.

Disney's current IP portfolio, after its merger with Fox, is the stuff of dreams. Having previously acquired Miramax, Pixar4, Marvel5 and Lucasfilm6, Disney has established itself as the leader in marketable properties. Miramax's influence in cinema has dwindled since the Weinstein brothers quit to start their own venture (which, given the recent sexual harassment scandal involving Harvey Weinstein, does not promise to be particularly long-lived), but has left behind several successful movie titles for Disney's catalogue. Pixar has regularly been churning out heartfelt and commercially successful animated movies, including the Toy Story franchise, the Incredible, Cars, Monsters Inc. and Inside Out, to name a few. Marvel has been one of Disney's most profitable purchases. Marvel's Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, together with the ensemble Avengers films have become among the highest-grossing films of all time. Their ambitious Infinity War team-up has fans around the world breathless with excitement. Several of Marvel's most popular titles and characters were sold off to Fox in Marvel's dog days. The fan-favorite X-Men franchise and the original super-team, the Fantastic Four, now belong to Disney, and thus have returned to Marvel Studios. Lucasfilm, along with its special effects division has brought the Star Wars universe into Disney's control. Fox owned the rights to broadcast, in perpetuity, some of the Star Wars movies, and now, these rights have reverted to Disney. These acquisitions make Disney poised to sit on top of the box-office, and also bring a sizable catalogue of content that Disney can stream on its own services, completely sidestepping Netflix, Amazon Prime and other streaming services.The most interesting consequence of the Disney-Fox merger is Hulu's fate. Hulu has had a funny story. It is a joint venture, with the ownership shares as follows: Disney – 30%, Fox – 30%, Comcast – 30% and Time Warner – 10%7. After the Disney-Fox merger closes, Disney will become the majority shareholder of Hulu, and can effectively control it. It may even attempt to buy-out Comcast and Time Warner, and turn Hulu to a full-fledged subsidiary.

Currently, Hulu only offers services in the US, and in Japan. However, given Disney's vast catalogue of content, Hulu's services can be expanded world-wide, as a direct competitor to Netflix, Amazon Prime and other streaming services. Whereas Netflix and the others are tech-driven and have only recently forayed into producing shows and movies de-novo, Disney has been in the game for so long, and has perfected the art of producing commercial flicks. Bright, Netflix's most ambitious project, a 90 million USD film starring Will Smith and Joel Edgerton opened to low viewer enthusiasm and negative reviews by critics. Contrast that to Disney's recent movies – Thor: Ragnarok, Star Wars: the Last Jedi and Beauty and the Beast, which were all critically acclaimed, and commercially successful. Clearly, if Disney does manage to turn Hulu into its own streaming service, it will prove to be more than capable of taking on Netflix, Amazon Prime and other streaming services.

All these developments, of course, are subject to the merger being allowed by the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division8. As this deal is a horizontal merger, i.e. a merger by which Disney aims to buy up a company that produces similar goods and services

(Fox), and will lead to a tangible reduction in the number of competitors; the deal is bound to be scrutinized with greater fervour. The deal would reduce the number of major film studios in Hollywood from six to five, and this have prompted concerns over both, the quality of future content, and the exploitation of auxiliary businesses by Disney, as it will negotiate from a position of absolute strength. Already, Disney is notorious for imposing unfairly high cuts from the share of movie revenue from theatres around the world. With their position consolidated, and their content highly sought-after, Disney will be in a position to dictate any terms they see fit onto theatres, producers, actors, and so on. The maxim, "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" might seem trite, but is supremely relevant here. All- in-all the Disney-Fox merger is great business for Disney, but may not bode well for other players in the industry. The decision of the antitrust regulators will be gauged on and only after a very long drawn-out period of scrutiny only, can such a merger be allowed. The effects this merger will have can only be predicted by conjecture; the true effects will be seen only a few years into the future.



2 "Disney Is Looking To Buy Even More Stables Of Characters", Business Insider







The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions