The Walt Disney Company’s $71.3 billion bid for 21st Century Fox was approved by shareholders from both companies this morning, clearing one of the biggest obstacles remaining to complete the mega-merger.
Comcast dropped out of the bidding last week, and one month ago, the Justice Department approved the Disney-Fox merger. However, the deal still needs to complete the regulatory process in several other countries.
Last December, Disney announced its $52.4 billion deal to acquire most of 21st Century Fox, with some assets—including Fox Broadcasting, Fox News, Fox Sports and Fox Business Network—to be spun off into a different company tentatively called New Fox.
Comcast, which had also been in talks with Fox last fall about a possible merger, was bolstered by the AT&T’s seismic court victory in June over the Justice Department, and decided to pursue Fox after all, with a $65 billion offer on June 13.
But Disney regained the lead a week later by raising its bid to $71.3 billion.
Four weeks ago, the Justice Department approved Disney’s bid for Fox. As part of the DOJ’s approval, Disney has agreed to divest Fox’s 22 regional sports networks, which were initially going to be part of the merger.
That left Comcast on the outside looking in. Last week, the company officially bowed out of the battle for Fox, announced that it would instead focus its efforts on securing 61 percent of European media giant Sky.
“I’d like to congratulate [Disney chairman and CEO] Bob Iger and the team at Disney and commend the Murdoch family and Fox for creating such a desirable and respected company,” said Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts at the time.
“Our incredible enthusiasm for this acquisition and the value it will create has continued to grow as we’ve come to know 21st Century Fox’s stellar array of talent and assets,” said Iger following this morning’s shareholder vote. “Our focus now is on completing the regulatory process and ultimately moving toward integrating our businesses.”