The 21st Century Fox logo is displayed on the side of a building in midtown Manhattan in New York, US, in this file photo. Picture: REUTERS/LUCAS JACKSON
The 21st Century Fox logo is displayed on the side of a building in midtown Manhattan in New York, US, in this file photo. Picture: REUTERS/LUCAS JACKSON

New York — 21st Century Fox said on Friday that its shareholders voted to approve Walt Disney’s $71bn purchase of its film and TV assets.

Results were announced at a special shareholders’ meeting in New York.

Shares of Fox were down slightly by 0.3% to $45.25 in morning trading, while Disney shares were down 0.5% to $112.93.

Disney was forced to sweeten its offer last month after Comcast, the largest US cable company, made a $66bn bid for Fox’s well-known TV shows and movie franchises, including the X-Men and The Simpsons. The bidding between Comcast and Disney was part of a bigger battle in the entertainment industry as media companies spend tens of billions of dollars on deals to compete with Netflix and Amazon.

Last week, Comcast dropped its pursuit of Fox’s film and television studios, cable networks and international TV businesses.

Disney’s cash and stock offer has already received approval from US regulators. In an agreement with the US department of justice, Disney, which owns sports network ESPN, said it would divest 22 of Fox’s regional sports networks.

Rupert Murdoch, who owns 17% of Fox’s voting shares along with his family, could have faced a large capital gains tax bill under Comcast’s all-cash offer.

Fox will separate the Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network and its sports channels FS1, FS2, and the Big Ten Network, into a newly listed company that it will spin off to its shareholders.

Reuters