Genting Malaysia Files $1bn Lawsuit Against Fox & Disney
Two well-known entertainment brands in 20th Century Fox and Disney are facing the heat after being slapped with a lawsuit from Genting Malaysia Berhad. The Malaysian casino operator has filed a $1 billion lawsuit in US courts against the two entertainment giants. The company claims bad faith in their dealings on a stalled theme park near Kuala Lumpur.
Genting filed the suit in a US District Court in Los Angeles, California. According to the company, Fox experienced ‘seller’s remorse’ after the two companies signed a memorandum of agreement back in 2013.
The deal was that Genting would get to create a theme park based on Fox’s intellectual property of Hollywood films. The plan was to open it under the name ‘20th Century Fox World Malaysia.’
However, the film company recently terminated their memorandum of agreement and claimed $46.2 million in accelerated payments. According to Genting, Fox had been delaying the construction of the park for years, in hopes of changing the terms of the agreement.
The delay brought in Walt Disney Co., which is already working to finish up a $71.3 billion dollar agreement that would allow it to acquire multiple assets of Fox. The problem is that Disney does not want itself to be associated with a ‘gambling company’ like Genting and has sought to assist Fox to get out of the deal.
Major Investment Made By Genting
Genting is seeking recompense for the large investment it had already put into the theme park. According to early reports, the company has already spent around $750 million on the theme park and wants additional punitive damages.
Much of the investment is because of Fox’s unwillingness to cooperate with the park. One notable example is how the park’s Malaysian designers were forced to create the Ice Age exhibit from scratch. Based on the popular Fox animated franchise, the reason for the extra work was that Fox was unwilling to lend them the original digital design documents and files. Additionally, Fox was supposed to have dragged its feet on allowing access to other copyrighted material.
Adding insult to injury, Fox supposedly sent a notice to Genting that they were to open the park in 30 days if it wanted to keep its license. An already impossible demand, this requirement was made even more difficult by Fox’s lack of approval for various elements of the park. Representatives of Fox and Disney have refused to comment on the lawsuit.
Genting Malaysia insists that this lawsuit will not affect current operations, despite the beating its shares are taking on the stock market.