Shareholders have approved Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century’s film and television studios this morning, paving the way for Disney to add Fox’s catalog of networks and intellectual property to its already vast holdings.
Disney will be required to divest itself of Fox’s regional sports networks, because it already owns ESPN. The company also won’t acquire all of Fox’s holdings: the remaining assets — some broadcast networks, including Fox News, Fox Business and Fox Sports, and local TV stations will be spun into a new company called New Fox.
Word broke in November 2017 that Disney had been speaking with 21st Century Fox about acquiring the company’s film and television divisions, and after some back-and-forth, Disney closed on a deal for the company, to the tune of $52 billion. The deal was complicated months later when Comcast made its own offer — $65 billion — prompting Disney to up its offer to $71.3 billion, forcing Comcast to throw in the towel. While the companies worked out the final price, the deal ultimately had to be approved by shareholders.
The Wall Street Journal notes that while shareholders for both companies have approved the deal, Disney will have to go through regulatory approvals from various “international territories,” even though the US Justice Department has already approved the deal — a major concern from 21st Century Fox in the midst of the negotiations.
Fox’s executive chairman Rupert Murdoch was prompted in part to sell off his media empire’s entertainment assets because of the increased competition from digital media companies like Netflix and Amazon. With those assets, Disney will be better able to compete as it launches its own streaming services, given that it’ll be acquiring vast amounts of new content, including franchises such as Alien, Avatar, and X-Men.