×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Disney, Fox Set Shareholder Voting Date for $71 Billion Deal

Disney and 21st Century Fox have set July 27 as the date for shareholder votes on Disney’s $71.3 billion acquisition of most of Fox’s assets.

Setting the shareholder vote puts a timeline in place for Comcast to respond with another bid, should the cable giant decide to continue its pursuit of Fox. Comcast declined to comment.

The separate shareholder meetings for Disney and Fox are set for 10 a.m. at the New York Hilton, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings made Thursday by both companies.

Fox had previously planned to hold its shareholder vote on the acquisition on July 10. But Comcast’s decision to counter Disney’s offer with a $65 billion bid unveiled on June 13 forced Fox to postpone that vote.

On Wednesday, Disney received approval for the proposed acquisition from the Justice Department. That removed a big hurdle to completing the buyout, and it gave Disney another leg up over Comcast in the hunt for Fox. Disney on June 20 responded to Comcast’s bid with a sweetened $71.3 billion offer that added nearly $20 billion in cash and stock to Disney’s original $52.4 billion pact set on Dec. 14.

Disney and Comcast are vying for control of most of 21st Century Fox’s film and TV assets, including the 20th Century Fox studio, FX Networks, National Geographic Partners and international operations including a clutch of 300-plus international channels, and Fox’s 30% stake in Hulu and 39% interest in Euro satcaster Sky.

To secure Justice Department approval of the deal, Disney agreed to divest Fox’s 22 regional sports networks. Anti-trust officials determined that the combination of those networks with Disney’s dominant ESPN national sports network could give Disney too much market power over sports teams and MVPD providers. Those channels are valued at about $19 billion.

The July 27 vote could conceivably be postponed again if Comcast comes forward with a sizable bid that requires more study and negotiations on the part of Fox’s board. But Disney has been moving forward as if the deal is a fait accompli given that Fox’s board has twice voted unanimously to endorse Disney’s offers. Disney also has the right to match any rival offers for Fox, which also advantages Disney in the high-stakes battle for the Fox assets that both companies see as vital to their ability to launch global direct-to-consumer streaming platforms in the future.

More Biz

  • The Edge, Adam Clayton and Bono

    U2 Tops Rolling Stones, Ed Sheeran as Highest-Grossing Touring Artist of the Decade

    U2 topped the Rolling Stones and Taylor Swift as the top-grossing touring artist of the 2010s, according to data from Pollstar. U2 grossed more than a billion dollars — $1,038,104,132, to be exact — although that number is likely to grow, as the group is currently on its “Joshua Tree 2019” tour in Australia, New [...]

  • supreme court byron allen comcast

    Africa Channel Owner, Congressional Black Caucus Blast Comcast Over Byron Allen Case

    The Congressional Black Caucus and an owner of cable’s Africa Channel have turned up the pressure on Comcast, blasting the cable giant for its business practices and legal strategy in fighting Byron Allen’s racial discrimination lawsuit. Paula Madison, an owner of The Africa Channel (TAC), issued a lengthy statement criticizing Comcast for what she characterized [...]

  • Def Jam Logo

    Layoffs Hit Def Jam Records

    Def Jam Records laid off several employees this week, including executive VP of brand strategy and content Noah Callahan-Bever and OJ Lima, senior VP in that department, a source close to the situation has confirmed to Variety. A total of seven employees let go, a number that includes regional promotion staffers not based in New [...]

  • The Story of Erroll Garner, the First

    The True Story of Erroll Garner, the First Artist to Sue a Major Label and Win

    It’s not at all unusual for artists to engage in creative or financial differences with their record labels, but only a few end up in court. Last year, Kanye West sued his label, Universal, and publisher, EMI, claiming that his deals amounted to “servitude” (the EMI suit was settled in September), echoing Prince’s famous battle [...]

  • Peter Gray

    Columbia Records Names Peter Gray Executive VP/ Head of Promotion

    Peter Gray, who stepped down as Warner Bros. Records’ executive VP/GM and head of radio promotion last year, is joining Columbia Records as the label’s EVP and head of promotion, sources tell Variety. He fills the role vacated by Lee Leipsner, who left the company in March. Gray’s appointment is the latest in a series [...]

  • U2, Seattle 14 May 2017

    U2 Drop New Song, ‘Ahimsa,’ Ahead of First Concert in India

    After a flurry of rumors on Thursday, U2 dropped their first single in two years: “Ahimsa,” a collaboration with Oscar- and Grammy-winning Indian musician AR Rahman, ahead of the group’s first-ever visit to the country next month. Rahman has a vast track record of film soundtracks and is best known for his work on the [...]

  • Sean "Diddy" Combs Revolt TV

    Sean Combs Slams 'Illusion of Economic Inclusion' at Comcast Amid Byron Allen Fight

    Sean Combs has come out swinging against Comcast in a lengthy statement prompted by the cable giant’s legal battle with Entertainment Studios chief Byron Allen. Combs accused Comcast of maintaining “the illusion of economic inclusion” in its handling of a carriage agreement with Combs’ Revolt TV channel. Combs was critical of Comcast for failing to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content