Shareholders Greenlight Disney's $71.3B Fox Deal

Credit PA

The Department of Justice had already given its conditional approval of the merger, provided Disney divest Fox's regional sports networks, but there was still one major roadblock for the companies - the shareholders.

U.S. Justice Department officials have greenlighted Disney's proposed acquisition, but it requires approvals from various worldwide regulatory bodies. According to disney, 99% of the shareholders voted yes.

Disney also picked up Fox's 22 regional sports networks in the deal, though it agreed last month to sell them as a way to satisfy antitrust concerns from the United States government.

Now with the shareholders' approval in the bag, the Disney acquisition of 21st Century Fox's assets will likely be finalized as early as the first half of 2019.

Qualcomm Inc.'s failure this week to win Chinese approval for its $44 billion takeover of NXP Semiconductors NV increases the risks for any other U.S. companies involved in deals requiring China's approval, according to Rie.

Disney still has several steps to overcome before the deal is closed.

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Disney raised its offer after Comcast ignited a bidding war by putting in a $US65 billion offer for the 21st Century Fox assets. Of course, that was very almost derailed last month when one-time Fox suitor Comcast re-entered the picture with its own $65 billion cash offer.

It kicked off a bidding war with Comcast, which dropped its $65billion offer last week to focus on an attempted buyout of the European pay-TV operator Sky.

Disney is purchasing the assets, which exclude the Fox News and Fox Business networks, for $US38 a share.

Disney's long-term plan is to forgo cable and satellite in favor of a 'direct-to-consumer strategy, ' which Iger believes is "vital to the future of our media businesses" and the company's "highest priority".

Disney stockholders approved the issuance of new common stock that will be distributed to 21st Century Fox stockholders as part of the acquisition. Hulu, which had been owned by ABC (Disney), NBC (Comcast) and Fox - each holding 30% stakes - and Time Warner (10%).

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