Walt Disney Co and Twenty-First Century Fox Inc were sued for more than US$1 billion on Monday by casino operator Genting Malaysia, which accused them of abandoning a contract related to its planned construction of the first Fox-branded theme park.
Disney did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Dan Berger, a spokesman for Twentieth Century Fox Film, one of the defendants, declined to comment.
Genting said the problems began as Fox engineered years of delays to force a renegotiation of the contract, which did not give it a share of gate sales.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles as Disney prepares to complete its $71.3 billion purchase of many Fox assets, expected in the first quarter of 2019.
But according to the complaint, Disney is now “calling the shots,” and wants to end the contract because associating with a gaming company didn’t fit its “family-friendly” brand strategy.
Genting said Fox issued a default notice with the hope of terminating the contract, in a manner “entirely consistent with Disney wanting to kill the deal” to benefit itself.
According to the complaint, Resorts World Genting contains Malaysia’s only legal land-based casino, seven hotels, shopping malls, performance venues, gondola lifts and scores of restaurants, bars and clubs. More than 23 million people visit each year, the complaint said.
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