Disney receives shareholder approval to buy Fox assets

  • Twenty-First Century Fox and Walt Disney Company shareholders have approved a deal to allow Disney to purchase Fox assets.
  • The $71.3 billion deal will give Disney control over Fox's entertainment properties and a 39 percent stake in Sky TV.

Twenty-First Century Fox and Walt Disney Company shareholders have approved a deal to allow Disney to purchase the majority of Fox's assets.

The two separate shareholders' meetings, which were held on Friday morning, were among the final steps in approving the mega merger. This approval covers Fox's entertainment assets, including 39 percent of pay TV operator Sky.

Disney is offering $71.3 billion in cash and stock for the acquisition, which will include Fox's film and television studios, as well as partial ownership of Sky TV, India's Star and Hulu. The company is hoping to use the additional media assets to compete against streaming competitors like Netflix, including through a Disney-branded streaming service slated to launch in 2019, a separate sports subscription and Hulu.

"Combining the 21CF businesses with Disney and establishing new 'Fox' will unlock significant value for our shareholders," 21st Century Fox executive chairman Rupert Murdoch said in a statement. "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 preeminent in the entertainment and media industries."

The fate of the rest of Sky is still up in the air as Fox entertains offers from other parties, including Comcast which has the current highest bid at $34 billion.

Disney won U.S. antitrust approval on June 27, on the condition that it would sell Fox's sports regional networks. However, it still needs nods from international governments, including the European Union and China.

"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," Iger said in a statement.

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