Disney and Fox Shareholders Approve $71.3 Billion Deal

Today is a big day for the landscape of film and TV as the shareholders of both Walt Disney and 21st Century Fox have approved the $71.3 Billion deal which will see Disney acquire a large portion of Fox.

This monumental deal with thrown into doubt over the past few months as Comcast has challenged Disney with a significant offer of $65 Billion, forcing Disney to raise their offer from $52.4 Billion to the $71.3 Billion.

Comcast has since dropped their $65 Billion offer and is said to now be focused on investing heavily to acquire Sky.

The shareholders meeting took place today at the New York Hilton Midtown hotel where it took within 8 minutes for the ‘combination merger proposal’ to receive a majority vote.

Bob Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company gave the following statement

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.

With the path now cleared for Disney to complete the merger they will likely now be keen to push forward and finalise the deal to allow them access to the wealth of IP’s that 21st Century Fox control.

Included in this deal will be the 20th Century Fox film and TV studio, Fox’s entertainment cable networks and its international assets.

This would allow Disney to create and distribute content from a range of very high-profile such as Avatar, Planet of the Apes, Alien, Predator, Die Hard, Kingsman, Ice Age and Night at the Museum, The Simpsons and Family Guy.

Arguably the most exciting aspect of this deal though is that Disney and Marvel will now have full creative control over the Marvel characters that have been missing from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The Fantastic Four, X-Men and Deadpool will now have the doors open for them to join the MCU creating endless opportunities going forward for those characters post Avengers 4.

How these franchises will work under the Disney umbrella is still not yet known however with the vast success Fox has had with many of these properties I would imagine that Disney will be looking to build upon what has been established rather than reboot them all with their own take.

The Marvel characters are likely to be the ones that see the most change as Disney and Marvel will have to find ways to gradually introduce these heroes and villains into already existing worlds and narratives.

Where these acquisitions will be most apparent though is in Disney’s direct to consumer streaming service which is set to launch next year. The vast library of content that Disney will have at their disposal will likely make subscribing to that service a must for many movie and TV fans.

Going forward as well that platform will only grow in strength as Disney will likely leverage those IP across film and TV models to help position their service as the premier option ahead of Netflix and Amazon.

It will still be a while until the deal is officially complete and Disney has full access to Fox’s assets but with this big step taken the wheels will start turning faster now and we can look forward to seeing what Disney has in store for some of our favourite characters.

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