Walt Disney and 21st Century Fox shareholders approved the media companies’ $71 billion deal at separate meetings Friday, bringing Disney’s acquisition of Fox entertainment assets closer to completion.
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Disney announced an agreement to buy a large part of Fox in December, initially offering $52.4 billion for Fox’s film and television studios, among other businesses. After Comcast made a rival bid of $65 billion, Disney raised its offer to $71 billion in cash and stock. Comcast said earlier this month it would cede the bidding war to Disney.
“We’re incredibly pleased that shareholders of both companies have granted approval for us to move forward, and are confident in our ability to create significant long-term value through this acquisition of Fox’s premier assets,” Disney Chairman and CEO Robert Iger said in a statement.
After receiving its shareholders’ approval, Disney is awaiting regulatory reviews outside the U.S. The Department of Justice cleared the transaction last month, saying Disney must sell Fox’s regional sports networks as a condition of its approval. The European Union and others are still evaluating the proposed deal.
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Last December, when the deal was announced, 21st Century Fox Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch told FOX Business during an interview on “Mornings with Maria,” “There’s only must-see Fox News and must-see FOX Business.”
“The new Fox will have Fox News, FOX Business, Fox Broadcasting, Fox Sports, but the point is it will have a cash flow of at least $2 billion a year,” Murdoch said, adding that he can use that money to build another business. “We can see expanding that and taking other opportunities and building another great company.”
Here’s what Disney will acquire if the deal is completed: Fox’s film and TV studios; majority ownership in video-streaming service Hulu; a stake in U.K. pay-TV company Sky; and cable networks FX and National Geographic. Fox is seeking to buy the remainder of Sky, which would give Disney full ownership of the British company. Comcast has submitted its own $34 billion bid for control of Sky.
21st Century Fox is the parent company of FOX Business and Fox News.