21st Century Fox shareholders have voted to accept the Disney buyout offer for $71.3 billion.  The vote took less than eight minutes to gain the support of the majority of shareholders.  This has been in the works since late last year, but there was a matter of the U.S. Department of Justice approving it to ensure that Disney would not create a monopoly by acquiring Fox, then rival Comcast who attempted to outbid Disney.  The properties that Disney is assuming control of the 20th Century Fox film studio and FOX television networks including FX.  For comic book movie fans, this also means that the ‘X-Men’ (including ‘Deadpool’) and ‘Fantastic Four’ franchises, will now be housed under the same roof as Marvel Studios, home of the ‘Avengers’ and more.  There is now a greater chance that these universes will meld into one.

Beyond the Marvel properties, Disney will also absorb Fox’s ‘Alien’, ‘Avatar’, ‘Predator’ and other brands.  In addition, Disney is acquiring Star India, Nat Geo, Fox’s 30% stake in Hulu and 39% percent stake in Sky, the European satellite service, which Comcast is now hoping to buy out for $34 billion.  Even if Disney doesn’t sell off their share of Sky, Comcast could still gain a controlling interest if it purchases the remaining 61%.

Disney originally offered to buy Fox for $52.4 billion in stock, but Comcast attempted to outbid them with $65 billion in cash.  Disney’s final purchase price was $71.3 billion in both cash and stock.  The U.S. Department of Justice required Disney/Fox to sell off their Fox Sports regional networks which had they been combined with Disney’s ESPN, would have created a monopoly.  United, Disney and Fox will fall under a new company banner,”New Disney.”

In a statement, Disney CEO Bob Iger said:

“We are 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.”

Keep in mind, a buyout of this scale isn’t going to be smooth sailing right off the bat.  There will be layoffs due to redundancy.  If Marvel Studios is going to integrate the X-Men and Fantastic Four, don’t expect to see them for a few years.  But at least now, steps can be taken in that direction.

Check back for more information as it emerges.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter