Fox & Disney shareholders approve $71.3 billion dollar acquisition deal
Last week the Comcast Corporation officially ended its pursuit of the assets Twenty-First Century Fox, and now the shareholders for both The Walt Disney Company and for 21st Century Fox have approved the deal to acquire those assets for $71.3 billion dollars. Meeting in New York, a majority of the Disney shareholders approved the deal after only 8 minutes, with the package including Fox’s 39 percent stake in the European pay TV company Sky which Comcast is still pursuing.
“Combining the 21CF businesses with Disney and establishing new ‘Fox’ will unlock significant value for our shareholders,” said Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman, 21st Century Fox. “We are grateful to our shareholders for approving this transaction. I want to thank all of our executives and colleagues for their enormous contributions in building 21st Century Fox over the past decades. With their help, we expect the enlarged Disney and new ‘Fox’ companies will be pre-eminent in the entertainment and media industries.”
“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,” said Robert Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “We remain grateful to Rupert Murdoch and to the rest of the 21st Century Fox board for entrusting us with the future of these extraordinary businesses, and look forward to welcoming 21st Century Fox’s stellar talent to Disney and ultimately integrating our businesses to provide consumers around the world with more appealing content and entertainment options.”
In June The Walt Disney Company signed an amended acquisition agreement with 21st Century Fox for $71.3 Billion ($38 per share in cash and stock). Disney will acquire 21st Century Fox immediately following the spin-off of the businesses comprising “New Fox” as previously announced. This move came after Comcast made an aggressive $65 billion all-cash offer for the 21st Century Fox assets, forcing Disney to increase its initial $52.4 billion purchase for the Fox acquisition.
Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice entered into a consent decree with Disney and 21st Century Fox that allows the transaction to proceed, while requiring the sale of the Fox Sports Regional Networks. Completion of the transaction is subject to a number of non-U.S. merger and other regulatory reviews, and other customary closing conditions.
For movie fans, as of now this means that presumed plans to reintegrate characters like Fantastic Four and X-Men (including Deadpool) into Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe remain intact, as does the total acquisition of Fox’s distribution rights to the original 1977 Star Wars for Lucasfilm. Disney will also now control the rights to such current Fox cinematic franchises as Avatar, Planet of the Apes, Alien, Predator, Die Hard, Kingsman, Ice Age and Night at the Museum. On the TV side some titles they will control include The Simpsons, Family Guy, The X-Files, Legion, American Horror Story, The Orville, NBC’s This Is Us and ABC’s Modern Family. In 2017, Disney’s Buena Vista held a dominant 21.8% of the movie market share, while 20th Century Fox held 12%