Two of the biggest film and television companies have been given the green light to merge.
Shareholders have approved a $71 billion deal that will see 21st Century Fox merge some of its film and television assets with Disney.
Both companies announced today, Friday, July 27, that shareholders had given the go-ahead for the move.
Disney is reportedly purchasing some of Fox’s assets, including Fox News and Fox Business networks, for $38 a share, according to Business Insider.
Disney was forced to raise its offer for the network after Comcast started a bidding war by offering $65 billion for the Fox assets. However, Comcast ended their bid last week, opting to instead focus on its battle with Fox to acquire the broadcaster Sky.
Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, said in a statement:
Combining the 21CF businesses with Disney and establishing new ‘Fox’ will unlock significant value for our shareholders.
We are grateful to our shareholders for approving this transaction. I want to thank all of our executives and colleagues for their enormous contributions in building 21st Century Fox over the past decades. With their help, we expect the enlarged Disney and new ‘Fox’ companies will be pre-eminent in the entertainment and media industries.
The Justice Department approved the deal that allows the two to merge on condition that the company sold the Fox Sports regional networks.
Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Disney, said:
We’re incredibly pleased that shareholders of both companies have granted approval for us to move forward, and are confident in our ability to create significant long-term value through this acquisition of Fox’s premier assets.
We remain grateful to Rupert Murdoch and to the rest of the 21st Century Fox board for entrusting us with the future of these extraordinary businesses, and look forward to welcoming 21st Century Fox’s stellar talent to Disney and ultimately integrating our businesses to provide consumers around the world with more appealing content and entertainment options.
The merging of the two companies has caught the attention of many film fans, who are excited to see the return of X-Men and the Fantastic Four to the big screen, as Disney will soon own the rights to these characters.
It will also allow characters like Wolverine, Deadpool and Mr Fantastic to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, alongside the like of Captain Marvel and Black Panther, as Comicbook reports.
Of course, it might also mean that the Alien queen may turn out to be a Disney princess – something I would very much like to see.
John Nallen, 21st Century Fox CFO, told shareholders at the meeting that the merger is expected to reach completion in the first half of 2019, which means Disney‘s ownership of Fox‘s assets could be hitting Hollywood in a matter of months.
It has also been reported, however, that the merger could cause job losses for up to 10,000 employees over both firms, Yahoo report.
Only time will tell if the joining of these two giant companies will be a positive move for the industry.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.