Fox & Genting Settle After Fox Park Debacle
The three companies resolved the $1 billion legal dispute after months of uncertainty. Genting sued Fox and Disney for damages after Fox pulled out of the project, which was to develop the world’s first Fox World-branded theme park. Fox’s move caused Genting shares to plunge to record lows, prompting them to initiate the dispute.
Planned by both parties in 2013, the project’s licencing agreement gave Genting rights to certain Fox IP, which included Planet of the Apes, Ice Age, Independence Day, Predator and Alien; to be used in the park, as a key attraction at Resorts World.
Resorts World features the country’s only casino, among other things. The idea was meant to increase the appeal of the resort to Malaysia’s mostly Muslim citizens, and would hopefully boost tourism numbers.
How Did The Dispute Start?
Genting sued Fox and Disney, (prior to their merger), saying they had invested $300 million in the theme park and that Fox had improperly pulled the plug. The deal would have provided Fox with an annual licence fee, but Fox had become less and less interested.
Genting attributed this to Disney, Fox’s soon-to-be owner, meddling with the deal and not wanting Fox involved with a theme park with close proximity to casinos, because it would not tie-in with Disney’s family-friendly image.
Fox filed a countersuit. They stated Genting had failed to meet construction timelines for the park, and that its failure to Soft Open by June 2018 had entitled them to terminate the agreement.
A lawyer for the Malaysians said the deadlines had been impossible to meet, and added that Fox had been willing to open Fox World, but Disney had wanted to renegotiate the agreement so they would receive a bigger slice of the pie.
Genting said they had suffered vast losses due to Fox’s decision to pull out of the theme park plan.
Anyway, the agreement was reached, and the developer has continued licence to use Fox IP. The theme park is getting an update, and will include both Fox IP and non-Fox IP. All claims and counterclaims, filed last year and early this year, are being dismissed, by mutual consent.
The theme park will no longer be called Fox World.
The resolution of the long-standing dispute resulted in Genting’s stock shooting to an 8-month high on July 26.