Walt Disney Co. and 21st Century Fox are being sued by Malaysia’s casino & hotel company Genting Malaysia Bhd for abandoning a Fox World theme park deal. Genting has claimed more than $1 billion in damages.
Back in 2013, Fox had signed a licensing agreement with Genting for developing a Fox-branded theme park at Genting's resort property outside Kuala Lumpur. According to the deal, the park would be financed and owned fully by Genting, while Fox would receive a portion of the revenue from food, beverages and retail. The park was scheduled to open its gates next year, with Genting having invested around $750 million in the project.
Disney is in the process of acquiring Fox's entertainment assets. In the lawsuit filed on Monday, Genting indicates that it is Disney that apparently wants to distance itself from a gambling company in order to avoid risking its “family-friendly” brand image. According to Genting, Fox “was perfectly happy to have the park situated a stone’s throw from the casinos of Resorts World Genting so long as it could continue to extract financial concessions”.
Genting was hoping that the Fox-brand themed park would boost the resort’s popularity and potentially attract around 30 million annual visitors by 2020.