July 27, 2018
The big deal is on.
As expected, shareholders of The Walt Disney Co. and 21st Century Fox on July 27 approved Disney’s acquisition of Fox’s entertainment assets, in one of the biggest media mergers of all time.
Investors approved the $71.3 billion deal – first proposed last December – in separate meetings at the New York Hilton. Both meetings were brief, less than 15 minutes. Fox shareholders were told the union would be completed in the first half of 2019.
Indeed, 21st Century Fox, which is selling select Fox assets, including 20th Century Fox Film, and Disney July 26 filed for regulatory approval in Brazil, claiming the merger does not hinder competition.
The shareholder vote came a month, to the day, after Disney won U.S. antitrust approval to buy Fox’s entertainment assets on the condition it divest 22 Regional Sports Networks (RSNs).
Disney had initially offered $52.4 billion to buy the Fox movie and TV assets, but after Comcast Corporation in early June countered with a $65 billion all-cash deal, Disney upped its cash-and-stock offer to $71.3 billion.
A little more than a week ago, Comcast dropped its bid and shifted its focus to buying European pay-TV operator Sky.