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Disney Reportedly Begins Fox Layoffs

Walt Disney Co. (DIS) began slashing jobs at 20th Century Fox less than two days after completing its $71 billion takeover of the storied film studio, according to the reports citing people familiar with the matter.

The layoffs, focused on senior management in the Fox film division, included Chris Aronson, president of domestic theatrical distribution; product strategy chief Mike Dunn; and three senior marketing executives, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Stacey Snider, the studio's chairman, said months ago that she would be leaving.

The merger combines Fox's movie labels -- Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Family, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox 2000 and Blue Sky Studios -- with Disney film banners such as Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm. The organization will be run by Studio Chairman Alan Horn, alongside Studio President Alan Bergman, Disney reportedly said.

Not all of the Fox brands will survive in their current form. Fox Family will become part of Twentieth Century Fox, and the Fox 2000 label will stop producing movies after its current slate is released.

The deal, one of the most sweeping in the current wave of media-industry consolidation, shrinks the number of major Hollywood studios to five from six, and is expected to result in thousands of job losses. Disney is offering a range of severance, according to people familiar with the matter, with the most senior executives getting as much as two years of pay -- and less for others.

Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger has promised cost savings of $2 billion by 2021, but also said he wants to exploit Fox franchises such as "Avatar" and "Deadpool." Some executives, like Emma Watts, vice chairman of the Fox film studio, will transition to Disney.

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