Could Disney Buyout of Fox Cost 10,000 Jobs?

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As usual when two companies in the same businesses merge, job cuts follow, due to “synergies.” That usually means overlapping positions will be eliminated.

One analyst has put the number of job cuts in a Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) buyout of much of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. (NYSE: FOXA) at as many as 10,000.

BTIG media analyst Rich Greenfield wrote that Disney could save more than the $2 billion it has announced would result from the merger. According to the New York Post:

The analyst explained that “a portion of the cost cuts will come from a reduction in film and television products as the combined company culls down to the best overall products with termination of projects resulting in less hiring.”

To get to its $2 billion goal, Disney will have to cut well over 5,000 jobs, Greenfield said.

That number could range as high as 10,000.

Disney has nearly 200,000 employees. Granted, many work at theme parks and are unrelated to Disney’s media assets. Fox employs about 21,000.

The prediction is a reminder that what is good for shareholders is not always good for workers. The media and entertainment industries already have shed hundreds of thousands of jobs, many at old-line media companies. However, the move to streaming media and the opportunity for consumers to buy content directly from content producers and not through cable or satellite companies have triggered downsizing at some companies that rely on the aging distribution model. At Disney, this included job cuts at sports program behemoth ESPN.

Disney’s debt will rise by $13.7 billion because of the Fox deal. Its existing debt is $18.9 billion. The ability to pay these down makes synergies all the more important, perhaps to the tune of 10,000 jobs.