Comcast had given it a very good try earlier this year, but ultimately it was not going to get in the way of already ongoing negotiations between The Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox for the acquisition of several media assets from the latter, most importantly the 20th Century Fox film studio. Not even the higher offer of Comcast could shake the good faith that has already built between Disney and Fox since talks started last year. With that hiccup out of the way from their deal, the other two companies have finalized Disney’s offer for Fox’s media subsidiaries.
The Hollywood Reporter tells us that shareholders from both The Walt Disney Company and Comcast have agreed on the final value of the bid by the former to acquire certain media assets from the latter. The shareholder vote took place Friday, July 27, during a special meeting at the New York Hilton Midtown hotel. They were in favor of a deal amounting to $71.3 billion, for which Disney shall gain the Fox film and television studios, cable networks, and stakes in international media companies particularly from India and the UK.
The Disney-Fox deal was in the headlines following Disney’s December 14, 2017 announcement confirming their bid of $52.4 billion for the offered assets. In mid-June Comcast entered the discussion with a higher all-cash offer of $65 billion, leading to Disney and Fox to amend their agreement to $71.3 billion, the amount their shareholders ultimately voted to finalize late last week.
Any serious contention by Comcast for the Fox assets were dashed when Disney’s offer was given the okay by antitrust regulators, something Comcast admittedly would have difficulty getting. They have however refocused their acquisition efforts on one of the Fox assets, its stake on British-European pay TV service giant, Sky.
It should be noted that during the shareholder meeting for the vote, which took only 11 minutes, at least one of them wanted the price to be lowered, but ultimately the assembly was in favor of the merger. Neither Disney’s nor Fox’s respective heads, Bob Iger and Rupert Murdoch, were present at the meeting last Friday, although it was webcast.
Once the assets have changed hands, both Disney and Fox will undergo restructuring; a new holding company tentatively termed as “New Disney” will oversee both Disney itself (plus existing subsidiaries) and the Fox assets, which will remain a distinct entity. The remnants of 21st Century Fox will be reorganized into “New Fox”, centered on Fox News, Fox Business Network and Fox Sports 1 and 2.
Image courtesy of Fox Business