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21st Century Fox said Thursday its shareholders will meet to vote on Disney’s latest offer of $71.3 billion to acquire most of Fox, including the film and TV studio, the FX cable channel and its stakes in Hulu and Sky, the European satellite TV service.
Fox had previously set a date of July 10 to consider a sale to Disney of the same assets for about $52.4 billion, though it rescheduled after Comcast offered $65 billion in cash and stock.
On Wednesday, the Disney-Fox partial merger won antitrust approval in the U.S. on the condition Disney sells the 22 Fox regional sports networks that it will acquire in the transaction so that they, in conjunction with ESPN, don’t form a monopoly in sports broadcasting.
It remains to be seen whether Comcast outbids Disney again, though for now, Fox is recommending that its shareholders vote in favor of Disney’s offer, saying in a filing Thursday: “We urge you to discard any gold proxy cards sent to you by Comcast Corporation, which is soliciting proxies from 21CF stockholders against each of the proposals contained in the joint proxy statement/prospectus previously distributed to 21CF stockholders on or about June 1, 2018.”
In the meantime, Fox shareholder TCI Fund Management has urged executive chairman Rupert Murdoch to give Comcast enough time to beat Disney’s offer again.
Should Fox shareholders vote in favor of the Disney offer, the transaction would likely take up to a year to close.
The assets that Disney does not purchase will collectively be known, for now, as New Fox, primarily made up of the broadcast network, FS1, FS2, the Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network.
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