21st Century Fox will become part of Disney in 2019, as Variety reports that the $71.3 billion deal close on January 1.

Current President of 21st Century Fox, Peter Rice, confirmed the news to employees at a town-hall meeting on Wednesday in Lost Angeles. Once the deal closes, Rice will join Disney as a top TV executive. However, while the deal will close on New Year’s Day, Rice added that regulatory processes will likely push the ultimate closure beyond that date.

Rice was joined on stage by 21st Century Fox CFO, John Nallen. Following the merger, Nallan is set to become COO of New Fox, the company that will be formed out of the remaining Fox assets that are not being purchased by Disney. Both Rice and Nallan fielded questions from employees regarding the Disney deal and New Fox.

One of the biggest concerns on employees’ minds are looming layoffs, as Disney is expected to save as much as $2.6 billion by laying off at least 5,000 people – 2,300 on the Fox side and 1,700 on the Disney side — in TV and film combined. “Inevitably there are going to be layoffs,” Rice said without elaborating further. As for New Fox, Nallen noted that he expects less layoffs and there there will not be a hiring freeze.

Source: Variety

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