The shareholders of the Walt Disney Group and of the 21st Century Fox today approved the agreement reached between the two companies, according to which Disney will take a good part of its rival’s business in exchange for 71.3 billion dollars.
The merger, which will mean a huge change in the entertainment industry, has yet to be approved by regulators in several countries before it becomes effective.
The agreement Friday received the green light from shareholders of the two companies in separate votes taken in New York, ending the struggle that has continued for months with Comcast Disney group to take control of the business of the Fox.
“We are incredibly pleased that shareholders of both companies have given us approval to continue and we are confident of our ability to create long-term value with the acquisition of the outstanding assets of the Fox,” he said in a statement the head of Disney, Robert Iger.
Disney and Rupert Murdoch-led consortium last December reached a first agreement, which was later improved after a higher offer made in June by Comcast, which owns among others the television networks NBC and Telemundo.
Murdoch argued that combining part of Fox’s business with Disney offers significant results for the shareholders of his company and will allow creating a leader in the entertainment and media sector.
The idea of the tycoon is to concentrate on the field of news, keeping Fox News and Fox Sports, as well as the television stations that distribute that news, a conglomerate that will be renamed New Fox.
Meanwhile, Disney will take over the film production company 20th Century Fox, the Nat Geo and FX television channels and with the participation of Fox in the British channel Sky and the Hulu platform, among other assets.
The US group will pay half of the operation in cash and the other half with shares, which will give 21st Century Fox’s shareholders between 17 and 20% of the combined company.
The merger has been accepted by the US Department of Justice, after Disney agreed to sell 22 regional sports television channels to prevent injury to free competition in that sector.
After the approval of the operation by the shareholders, the shares of Disney fell back today around 1% in the middle of a session on Wall Street.
The 21st Century Fox, after important swings throughout the day, was left at that time around 0.50%.