Shareholders of 21st Century Fox and Disney have voted to approve Disney’s whopping $71.3 billion buyout of major Fox assets. Shareholders from both companies gathered earlier this morning at the New York Hilton for two separate meetings to vote on the transaction that the companies first set back in December. Both meetings were brief, lasting less than 15 minutes each.
Gerson Zweifach, the general counsel of 21st Century Fox, informed Fox shareholders the merger is expected to be completed during the first half of 2019. He said the deal was “a transformative transaction that will enable us to unlock significant value for our stockholders.”
After receiving nearly unanimous approval, the meeting was adjourned before 10 minutes had passed. 99% of the Disney shareholders vote to approve the purchase of 21st Century Fox. Only one voter, who identified himself as an economics professor at Duquesne University reportedly protested the purchase, saying that:
“We are overpaying for Fox.”
Disney and 21st Century Fox first reached an agreement for $52.4 billion buyout back in December of last year, but Comcast entered the negotiations earlier this year back in June, engaging with Disney in a bidding war for the Fox assets with an all cash offer of $65 billion. With Disney’s latest offer, of a total of $71.3 billion in cash and stock, Comcast decided to back out of the bidding altogether. With the company saying:
“Comcast does not intend to pursue further the acquisition of the Twenty-First Century Fox assets and, instead, will focus on our recommended offer for Sky.”
Disney received the greenlight from the Justice Department for the purchase, provided that Disney divest the 22 regional sports networks it was set to gain in the deal.
Now with the more business side of things covered what’s upside of the Disney and Fox merger for the Geek Community, mainly Marvel & Star Wars fans?
Well Disney will soon own the rights to all of the X-Men and Fantastic Four characters, which are currently possessed by Fox. (If you can’t buy the rights, just buy the whole god damn company) This will allow characters like Wolverine, Professor X, Magneto, Deadpool, the Fantastic Four, Doctor Doom and many others to appear in future Marvel Cinematic Universe films, alongside with the current characters of the MCU like Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Spiderman and co.
Star Wars might also benefit from this deal too, as 21 Century Fox owns the distribute rights to the original Star Wars. Even though Disney bought the rights to Star Wars back in 2012 for $4.1 Billion it’s probably the reason why you haven’t seen Disney make any restoration efforts on the original movie. But with this merger we may see (this is just a theory) a complete Episodic Saga Box Set of all the 9 Episode movies altogether once Episode IX has been released sometime in 2020.
Back to business side of things, there will be some negatives to this merger. As it is expect to come with many job losses. With an estimated 5,000 layoffs from both Disney & Fox in the process of the acquisition.
Statements from both Rupert Murdock and Bob Iger on the approved merger:
“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.”
– Rupert Murdock
“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. 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.”
– Bob Iger