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SOPA Images

Just days after Walt Disney Co. officially finalized its acquisition of most of 21st Century's entertainment assets, layoffs have begun at Fox properties, The Los Angeles Times reports. Roughly 3,000 layoffs are expected.

Why it matters: This is a big shakeup amid an already tumultuous time in Hollywood. Disney purchased Fox assets — much like AT&T purchased Time Warner last year — in an effort to compete with entertainment tech giants like Netflix and Amazon.

Details: Initial cuts began Thursday, according to the LA Times. Roughly 2 dozen people were let go, most from high-level positions at 20th Century Fox in Los Angeles

The big picture: Disney is inheriting several of 21st Century Fox's entertainment properties, including 20th Century Fox film studio, Fox cable channels including FX and National Geographic, and Fox's 30% stake in Hulu.

  • It will be terminating Fox 2000, a movie label under the 21st Century Fox umbrella, Variety reported earlier on Thursday.
  • Disney also announced Thursday evening its senior film leadership team following the close of the acquisition.

The job cuts are particularly interesting in the context of another ongoing story. Currently, Democrats have asked the Justice Department to probe the White House for possibly interfering in media mergers, like this one and the one between AT&T and Time Warner.

  • In the letter to the Attorney General obtained by Axios two weeks ago, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) asked the DOJ to investigate whether Trump had made "formal or informal inquiries encouraging the Department of Justice to approve or expedite the Disney/Fox merger."
  • As Axios has previously reported, the White House wouldn't say whether Trump explicitly supported the Disney-Fox deal, but White House press secretary Sarah Sanders did say he thinks it would be "a great thing for jobs."

Be smart: Synergies are expected when companies this big — with similar businesses — merge, but reports suggest that employees were surprised by the scope and how quickly it was happening. Disney said on an investor call in late 2017 that it anticipated $2 billion in "cost synergies" by 2021 related to the merger, which often means layoffs.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
20 mins ago - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

How smartphone cameras became the best cameras

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

For years, the smartphone has been the most convenient camera, and in recent years it has also become the easiest and most versatile camera. But this year's high-end smartphones have taken things to a new level — capturing images that would be either tough or impossible even with a high-end digital camera.

Between the lines: Traditional cameras have the advantage of bigger sensors and better lenses, but smartphone cameras are rivaling and even surpassing them by tapping computational power.

The rise of vegan food in unexpected places

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Vegan cuisine is popping up in two places it wasn't present before: fine dining and fast food.

Why it matters: The single biggest way an individual can reduce their carbon footprint is to eat less meat and dairy. Now, the popularization of meatless meals could help curb meat consumption in the U.S.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
49 mins ago - Health

Experts predict an easier COVID winter this year

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

This winter probably won't bring another crushing COVID wave, experts say.

Why it matters: Last winter was the deadliest phase of the pandemic, and many Americans are braced for cold weather to once again usher in a surge in cases and deaths. But there are good reasons to think this year won't be nearly as bad.

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