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Disney, 21st Century Fox in $71 Billion Merger

Disney chairman CEO Robert Iger (L) and 21st Century Fox executive chairman Rupert MurdochDisney chairman CEO Robert Iger (L) and 21st Century Fox executive chairman Rupert Murdoch

Disney’s blockbuster deal for most of 21st Century Fox has finally been approved after months of negotiations by both companies.

Shareholders of the two giant film companies gathered Friday at the New York Hilton for separate meetings to vote and green light Disney’s $71.3 billion purchase of the Fox assets. Both meetings were brief, lasting less than 15 minutes.

Gerson Zweifach, general counsel of Fox, told Fox shareholders the merger is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019. Heat will enable us to unlock significant value for our stockholders.

The Disney gathering was short and perfunctory. The vote took less than 10 minutes and received near unanimous approval from Disney shareholders, Variety reported.

During the discussion preceding the vote, only one shareholder - who identified himself as an economics professor at Duquesne University - protested, simply saying “I think we are overpaying for Fox.

Disney will get Fox’s movie studio, which includes franchises like «Avatar» and «X-men,» along with cable channels like FX and National Geographic.

Disney also picked up Fox’s 22 regional sports networks in the deal, though it agreed last month to sell them as a way to satisfy antitrust concerns from the US government.

Fox will keep Fox News, Fox Sports and the Fox broadcasting network as a separate company.

In a statement, Fox executive chairman Rupert Murdoch said he expects the new, combined company to become «pre-eminent in the entertainment and media industries.»

Disney CEO Bob Iger added in a statement that his company is «grateful» to Murdoch and the Fox board «for entrusting us with the future of these extraordinary businesses.»

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