Disney and Fox Shareholders Approve $71.3 Billion Megamerger
The completed deal, expected to become official in first half of 2019, would give Disney control of Fox’s wealth of subsidiaries, including its film studio, FX Networks, and intellectual property, such as X-Men, Avatar, and “The Simpsons.” Disney is planning to use its newly-bolstered library to launch a streaming service next year to rival Silicon Valley rivals Netflix and Amazon.
The shareholders vote was conducted Friday morning at the Hilton in Midtown Manhattan, according to Variety. Each company did their own votes, both lasting less than 15 minutes with near unanimous approval.
The meetings end a saga of uncertainty over the past six months after Disney entered a bidding war with Comcast to acquire Fox. The former announced its bid in December valued at $52.4 billion in Disney stock, but Comcast in June countered with a $65 billion all-cash bid. Disney, in turn, responded with the current $71.3 billion bid, a mix of stock and cash, and Comcast backed off, deciding instead to focus on British media giant Sky.
Fox has a 39.14% stake in Sky and is in the midst of trying to consolidate the rest of its ownership, sparking another bidding war with Comcast, who currently leads the chase with a bid of $34 billion. Regardless of Sky’s fate, the Disney and Fox merger is expected to go through.
The U.S. Justice Department approved of the deal last month under the condition that Disney sell of Fox’s regional sports networks that compete with Disney-owned ESPN. Disney’s final hurdles include receiving approval from international territories, such as China and the European Union.