The sale of 21st Century Fox to The Walt Disney Company took a major leap forward today, as the purchase has been approved by shareholders.
Early Friday morning, shareholders from both Disney and Fox met separately to vote on the pending merger of the companies. According to reports from the meetings, both companies chose to approve the deal.
Just in: 99% of Disney shareholders vote to approve the purchase of 21st Century Fox, which means the deal is now in the hands of regulators.— Alex Heath (@alexeheath) July 27, 2018
Variety reports that both of the meetings, which took place at the New York Hilton, were very brief, each lasting less than 15 minutes. Disney's was led by general cousel Alan Braverman and CFO Christine McCarthy. After receiving nearly unanimous approval, the meeting was adjourned before 10 minutes had passed.
Only one voter reportedly protested the purchase, saying that they "are overpaying for Fox."
John Nallen, 21st Century Fox CFO, told the shareholders at the Fox meeting that the merger is expected to reach completion in the first half of 2019. This would mean that Disney's ownership of Fox's assets could be Hollywood's reality in a matter of months.
Disney and Fox initially agreed on terms of the sale back in December, but Comcast entered the fold earlier this year and engaged the House of Mouse in a bidding war for the Fox assets. After Disney's latest offer, which amassed a total of $71.3 billion in combined cash and stock, Comcast decided to back out of the bidding altogether. Now that both companies have approved the sale, it will go to regulators across the globe, who will determine whether the merger can be processed.
The upside of this sale, at least in the eyes of the geek community, is the fact that Disney will soon own the rights to all of the X-Men and Fantastic Four characters, which are currently possessed by Fox. This will allow characters like Wolverine, Deadpool, and Mr. Fantastic to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, alongside the likes of Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel.
On the negative side of things, the merger is expected to come with heavy job losses. It was recently estimated that Fox's sale to Disney would come with 5,000 layoffs, coming from both sides of the acquisition.
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