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Disney, Fox shareholders OK blockbuster $ 71 billion deal



Walt Disney and 21st Century Fox shareholders overwhelmingly approved Friday's $ 71.3 billion acquisition of Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox, a milestone in a merger that will dramatically change the entertainment industry ,

The contours began almost a year ago over wine between Disney chief executive Bob Iger and Murdoch in the Moraga Vineyard of the older Mogul over Bel-Air. Friday's poll was more official: The two companies held separate shareholder meetings at the same Hilton hotel, a few blocks from Fox's headquarters in Midtown Manhattan.

Neither Murdoch nor Iger were present. The meetings, which lasted less than 12 minutes, were conducted by the general advocates and other officers of the company. Fox's General Counsel, Gerson A. Zweifach, initially announced that his five proposals had been approved by the proxies, "including the merger agreement." A few minutes later, at the Disney meeting, Disney gave General Counsel Alan Braverman announced that Disney's only move ̵

1; the issuance of additional shares to buy Fox – was also approved by the shareholders, and Braverman adjourned the meeting.

The lightning-fast approval limited Murdoch's startling decision to sell the company he owned Hollywood was stunned last fall when the news of the Disney-Fox talks first appeared, and in December, Murdoch accepted Disney's first $ 52 billion deal for Fox's television and film studio , the cable television channels FX and National Geographic, a stake in Hulu streaming service, Fern in India and Fox's 39% stake in London-based pay-TV company Sky.

"The way the entertainment and media world expands – and globally – is gaining in importance as these companies face competition from Facebook and Google," said Jim Nail, principal analyst, consulting firm Forrester Research. "All these guys are catching up, and Bob Iger made a smart purchase."

Murdoch has to thank Comcast Chairman and Chief Executive Brian Roberts for a more lucrative prize. At the beginning of June, Comcast made its own $ 65 billion offer for the same Fox assets, forcing Iger to spend $ 19 billion more than Disney's initial offer to receive the prize.

"Combining and Establishing 21st Century Fox Business with Disney The new" Fox "will unlock significant value for our shareholders," said Murdoch, CEO of Fox, in a statement. "We would like to thank our shareholders for approving this transaction and I would like to thank all of our executives and colleagues for their tremendous contributions to building 21st Century Fox over the past decades."

Disney said it totaled around $ 35 billion in cash spend and spend approximately 343 million New Disney shares will be to Fox shareholders who own up to 20 percent of Disney. Fox shareholders can choose to receive $ 38 in either cash or "new" Disney shares.

The Murdoch family, which holds 17 percent of Fox's outstanding shares, could take Disney shares worth more than $ 12 billion (19659002) By adding Fox's deeper library of TV shows and films , along with franchises such as "Avatar", "Planet of the Apes" and Marvel Entertainments "Deadpool", Disney will have a lot of popular content In a new streaming service, the Burbank Entertainment giant plans to launch next year. Disney would also gain the majority of control over Hulu, which, as Iger said, is used for more mature dishes.

"Building the Fox library with Disney will create a library that everyone will be the envy of," said Nail. "The Fox Library will help expand its appeal."

The sale is expected to be completed next year. Although the transaction has already received the blessing of President Trump's Justice Department, the two companies still need to receive regulatory approvals from governments around the world. Disney has also agreed to divest Fox's 22 regional sports networks, including Prime Ticket and Fox Sports West in Los Angeles.

Disney has provided $ 34 billion to finance the new assets.

"We are incredibly satisfied Shareholders of both companies have given us permission to make progress, and we are confident that we can create significant long-term value by acquiring Fox's leading assets," Iger said in a statement , "We remain grateful to Rupert Murdoch and the rest of the 21st Century Fox board for entrusting us with the future of these extraordinary businesses."

Murdoch, 87, and his family will not leave the media. The family intends to hold several Fox assets, including Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, two national sports networks, television stations and the Fox Broadcast Network. These properties will form a new company.

In addition, the Murdochs also have a controlling stake in News Corp., which owns the Wall Street Journal, the Times of London, newspapers in Australia and the book publisher HarperCollins.

Fox's stock slid 23 cents or half a percent, closing at 45.15 on Friday. Fox shares have risen 80 percent since news of the talks with Disney was released in late October. Disney shares closed 89 cents, or less than one percent, at $ 112.62.


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