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Disney and Fox Shareholders approve merger, likely to be completed in first half of 2019

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Shareholders of 21st Century Fox and Disney have approved Disney’s $71.3 billion buyout of Fox’s assets.

Shareholders gathered on July 27 at the New York Hilton for separate meetings to vote on the historic transaction that the companies announced in December.

Gerson Zweifach, general counsel of 21st Century Fox, told Fox shareholders the merger is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019.

Disney said 99% of shareholders approved the company’s acquisition of Fox assets, a historic tie-up that will alter the Hollywood landscape.

The Disney gathering was short and perfunctory. Led by Disney general counsel Alan Braverman and CFO Christine McCarthy, the vote took less than 10 minutes and received near unanimous approval from Disney shareholders.

With this, “Avatar,” the “X-Men” movies, “Titanic” and TV shows such as “The Simpsons” and “This Is Us” will now be owned by Disney.

In June, the Walt Disney Company announced that the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) had cleared the pending acquisition by Disney of 21st Century Fox.

The DOJ had entered into a consent decree with Disney and 21st Century Fox that allows the acquisition to proceed while requiring the sale of the Fox Sports Regional Networks.

Under the consent decree, Disney has at least 90 days from the date of closing the transaction to complete this sale. The DOJ may grant extensions of time up to another 90 days, and the decree is subject to the normal court approval process.

Earlier, Disney and Fox announced an amended acquisition agreement pursuant to which Disney will acquire Fox for $38 per share in cash and stock.

The Walt Disney Company had officially increased its offer for the purchase of 21st Century Fox, upping its offer to USD 71.3 billion in stock and cash. The new bidding is a drastic increase from the company’s original USD 52.4 billion deal that valued Fox at USD 28 per share.

The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries, is a diversified worldwide entertainment company with operations in four business segments: Media Networks; Studio Entertainment; Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products; and Direct-to-Consumer and International. Disney is a Dow 30 company and had annual revenue of $55.1 billion in its Fiscal Year 2017.

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