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Shareholders Approve Disney's $71.3B Acquisition of Fox as Deal Enters Final Stages

One week after Comcast officially bowed out of the bidding war for 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets by ceding to Disney, shareholders of both Fox and Disney have today approved Disney's $71.3 billion acquisition offer for Fox (via The Wall Street Journal). At two separate gatherings this morning in Manhattan, both company's shareholders were said to have "voiced their support" for the acquisition in brief meetings that lasted less than 15 minutes. There are still a few hurdles before Disney officially acquires 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets, mostly related to approval from overseas entities. Specifically, Disney is waiting for the European Union and China to grant approval for the acquisition, as well as "more than a dozen" other international territories. Still, with the United States Justice Department approving the acquisition last month (with one condition for Disney) and now the shareholders voting to approve, it's believed Disney's acquisition of Fox will be done by early 2019. News of Disney's interest in Fox dates back to last December when Disney initially announced its bid to acquire Fox for $52.4 billion in stock. Comcast entered with its own $65 million cash offer for Fox's assets, leading to Disney's increased $71.3 billion cash and stock bid in June. At the time that it bowed out of the running for Fox, Comcast CEO Brian L. Roberts congratulated Disney and its CEO Bob Iger and commended the Murdoch family and Fox "for creating such a desirable and respected company." Disney's plans for Fox line up with its intent to launch a

Comcast Bows Out of Competition for Fox, CEO Congratulates Disney as Bidding War Ends

After a summer of back-and-forth bids between Comcast and Disney for select entertainment assets owned by 21st Century Fox, Comcast today confirmed that it is bowing out of the bidding war for Fox. The company says the move is to instead focus on acquiring European satellite TV provider Sky, another much-sought-after entertainment company that is seeing interest from the likes of Comcast, Fox, and Disney (via Variety). For the purchase of 21st Century Fox, this means that Disney is now expected to finally win the bid and close out the acquisition deal in the near future. The most recent steps in that process saw Disney and Fox agree to a $71.3 billion cash and stock deal, which has now also been approved by the Department of Justice on the condition that Disney sells off 22 regional Fox sports networks. In the announcement confirming that it will not place another bid on Fox, Comcast CEO Brian L. Roberts congratulated Disney and its CEO Bob Iger: “Comcast does not intend to pursue further the acquisition of the Twenty-First Century Fox assets and, instead, will focus on our recommended offer for Sky,” the company said in a statement Thursday. Brian L. Roberts, Comcast chairman-CEO, added: “I’d like to congratulate Bob Iger and the team at Disney and commend the Murdoch family and Fox for creating such a desirable and respected company.” Disney originally announced interest in acquiring 21st Century Fox last December, starting its bidding at $52.4 billion in stock before Comcast forced it to increase the amount and introduce a cash component. Once the

Disney's Acquisition of Fox Approved, but Must Sell Off 22 Regional Fox Sports Networks

After months of scrutiny in an ongoing antitrust case, the United States Department of Justice today granted The Walt Disney Company approval to acquire 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets for $71.3 billion, on one new condition: Disney must divest 22 regional sports networks owned by Fox to an "acceptable" buyer. Removing these networks from the acquisition "would resolve the competitive harm" that has been previously raised in the antitrust lawsuit, the Department said. If Disney did acquire Fox and the 22 regional sports networks, the original complaint argued that the proposed acquisition would "likely result" in multichannel video programming distributors paying higher prices for cable sports programming in the designated markets. This would also inflate television subscription prices in the process, the Department pointed out. Now, Disney has agreed to sell the 22 networks to a buyer that the Justice Department deems "acceptable," rather than continue the ongoing merger investigation. After the acquisition closes, Disney will have 90 days in which to sell all of the designated networks to the buyer, otherwise the court will appoint a trustee to force the sale. This will ensure a competitive market remains in place in each region, Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim explained. “American consumers have benefitted from head-to-head competition between Disney and Fox’s cable sports programming that ultimately has prevented cable television subscription prices from rising even higher,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the

Disney Outbids Comcast for Fox's Assets With $71.3 Billion Cash and Stock Deal

21st Century Fox and the Walt Disney Company today announced a new deal that increases the value of Disney's original December 2017 offer from $28 a share at $52.4 billion to $38 a share at $71.3 billion, with a new cash component. This agreement "is superior to the proposal" from Comcast made earlier this month, according to an unnamed representative speaking for Fox (via The Wall Street Journal). Additionally, the new Fox-Disney deal states that Fox shareholders will be able to receive their consideration "in the form of cash or stock," subject to 50/50 proration. The updated deal comes six months after Disney first announced its intent to acquire certain parts of 21st Century Fox, including Twentieth Century Fox Film and Television Studios, Fox-related cable and international TV businesses, and Fox's 30 percent stake in Hulu, among other assets. Comcast entered as a competitor earlier in June at $35 per share for a total of $65 billion -- an offer that Disney has now beat. Fox has mentioned in the past that talks with Disney were more advanced than any other potential buyer, and it appears that the two companies are trying to work out a deal that values Fox's assets in the wake of Comcast's increased bid. Nothing is finalized yet, however, and if shareholders are thought to be favoring a cash-heavy deal, people familiar with the matter told WSJ that Disney is "in position to inject cash into its offer." Some Fox shareholders might prefer a premium cash offer like the one Comcast is offering, even though the capital gains would be taxable. Other

Comcast Outbids Disney for Fox's Assets With $65 Billion All-Cash Offer

Just a day after a U.S. District Judge approved the upcoming merger between AT&T and Time Warner, Comcast has submitted a bid for 21st Century Fox's TV and film assets, reports CNBC. Comcast has presented Fox with an all-cash offer at $35 per share for a total of $65 billion, which beats out Disney's stock-based $52.4 billion deal. 21st Century Fox has already moved forward on a deal with Disney, but Comcast is aiming to change the minds of Fox's board members. From the letter sent to Fox's board by Brian Roberts, Comcast CEO. So, we were disappointed when 21CF decided to enter into a transaction with The Walt Disney Company, even though we had offered a meaningfully higher price. We have reviewed the publicly available terms of the proposed Disney transaction, as well as the joint proxy statement/prospectus filed with the SEC describing the reasons for the 21CF Board of Directors' decision. In light of yesterday's decision in the AT&T/Time Warner case, the limited time prior to your shareholders' meeting, and our strong continued interest, we are pleased to present a new, all-cash proposal that fully addresses the Board's stated concerns with our prior proposal. Our new proposal offers 21CF shareholders $35.00 per share in cash and 100% of the shares of New Fox after giving effect to its proposed spinoff, providing superior and more certain value as compared to Disney's all-stock offer.Comcast first announced its plans to make a bid on 20th Century Fox, 20th Century Fox Television, several Fox-owned cable channels, and a stake in Hulu back in May, but the

21st Century Fox CEO Says Apple Still Just 'Dabbling' in Original TV Content

In early 2017, Apple CEO Tim Cook described the company's plans for original TV content on Apple Music as placing a "toe in the water" for its television ambitions at the time. Eventually, Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke debuted on the service, but since then frequent reports have indicated Apple is now "completely all in" on original content, shifting from reality TV programs on Apple Music to high-quality, $1 billion investments in hour-long programs on par with shows like Westworld. Despite Apple's evolving plans over the past year and a half, 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch still believes Apple to be "dabbling" in the creative original content space. In an interview at Recode's Code Conference this week, Murdoch was asked what advice he would give to companies who are not traditional TV content-creating companies, but who are getting into the original programming business. Photo taken by Asa Mathat via Recode Murdoch explained that 21st Century Fox's angle is "a creative business" and "very entreprenurial," where it empowers creators, creative partners, and creative executives to "push the envelope" in storytelling. He said that "being tolerant of failure is important," leading into his statement about Apple and other companies looking into TV production and their potential fear of failure as an impediment to faster progress. So, I think the one issue that we see with the kind of, you know, the dabbling, right? If you look at an Apple. Is it ... Going piece by piece, one by one, show by show, et cetera, is gonna take a long time to really move the

Comcast Confirms Plans to Outbid Disney for Fox's Assets With 'Superior' All-Cash Offer

Last December, The Walt Disney Company outlined plans to acquire 21st Century Fox and a collection of its subsidiaries for $52.4 billion in stock. Those plans have been under regulatory scrutiny for months and have yet to be finalized, and now Comcast has confirmed it is in "advanced stages" of sending Fox a "superior" all-cash offer in hopes of besting Disney's all-share offer (via Bloomberg). Previous reports about Comcast's potential bid also referenced an all-cash deal, and put an estimate above Disney's to as much as $60 billion in cash from Comcast for the designated Fox assets. Comcast's press release today does not disclose an offer amount, but the company says the structure and terms of any offer would be "at least as favorable to Fox shareholders as the Disney offer." Comcast says that its work to finance the offer for some of Fox's assets is "well advanced," and the company has already prepared to file key regulatory statements. Of course, no final decision has yet been made, but analyst Daniel Ives notes that, "If Comcast won these assets from the arms of Disney, it would be a devastating blow to [Disney CEO] Bob Iger." In view of the recent filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission by The Walt Disney Company (“Disney”) and Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. (“Fox”) in preparation for their upcoming shareholder meetings to consider the acquisition of Fox by Disney, Comcast Corporation (“Comcast”) confirms that it is considering, and is in advanced stages of preparing, an offer for the businesses that Fox has agreed to sell to

The Walt Disney Company to Acquire 21st Century Fox Assets Resulting in Majority Control Over Hulu

Following weeks of news coverage about the potential acquisition of certain Fox assets by The Walt Disney Company, today the confirmation of that acquisition has come from Disney with a press release detailing the specific parts of Fox that will now merge into Disney. Notably, Disney has acquired 21st Century Fox, including Twentieth Century Fox Film and Television Studios and Fox-related cable and international TV businesses, for $52.4 billion in stock. The "definitive agreement" between Disney and Fox will still need to face various customary closing conditions, including shareholder approval and other regulatory and antitrust reviews. Movie assets that are now Disney-owned under 21st Century Fox include Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox 2000, homes of movies like Avatar, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Deadpool, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Shape of Water, and Gone Girl. Disney also now owns Fox's TV production companies including the previously mentioned Twentieth Century Fox Television, as well as FX Productions and Fox21, which brought viewers shows like The Simpsons, This Is Us, and The Americans. On the TV network and streaming side of things, Disney has also acquired FX Networks, National Geographic Partners, Fox Sports Regional Networks, Fox Networks Group International, Star India, Sky plc, Tata Sky, Endemol Shine Group, and most notably Fox's 30 percent stake in Hulu. With this particular asset acquisition, Disney is now a majority shareholder of Hulu. “The acquisition of this stellar collection of businesses from 21st Century Fox reflects the increasing

Fox Now iOS and tvOS Apps Updated With Combined Content From FX, FXX, and Nat Geo

Fox Networks Group this week announced that Fox Now, its main app for streaming shows like Empire and Prison Break, has gained additional content from the company's other networks, including FX, FXX, and National Geographic (via Variety). The update arrives first on iOS and tvOS and will continue to roll out on other devices throughout the year. In total, around 500 hours of TV shows will now be available on Fox Now, which also includes a live TV feature and access to popular films. Users will have to provide a log-in for a paid TV provider in order to gain access to the four channels' content within the app. On Apple TV, Fox Now does support Single Sign-On, letting users sign into the Apple TV once and access all of the content available to them across devices. Existing streaming apps for FX and National Geographic -- FX Now and Nat Geo TV, respectively -- will continue to function as normal. Now, users will simply have Fox's updated app as a hub experience for the collection of channels to watch a wider variety of shows, including Fox's 24: Legacy, FX's The Americans, FXX's You're The Worst, and National Geographic's Genius. Fox Now has also gained a UI update with the addition of new channels, featuring full-screen video across the app "to emulate the look and feel of linear TV," as well as the ability to "restart" live TV so users can go back to the beginning of a broadcast if they're late. There's also a personalized For You section, and the app will curate shows for users by networks and genres. The latest Fox Now app update “represents a significant

Fox's 'Movie of the Day' App Offering Discounted Titles Expands to Apple TV

20th Century Fox today announced that its popular Movie of the Day app is expanding to the Apple TV ahead of Valentine's Day, giving Apple TV users an opportunity to get iTunes movie titles at a discounted price. The app offers a different movie each day at prices that are generally more affordable than other online sources. Each deal is available for 24 hours. Tomorrow's movie, Kingsman: The Secret Service, will be available for purchase for $7.99. The Movie of the Day app normally keeps upcoming titles a surprise, but Fox is offering a sneak peek to celebrate the release of the Apple TV app. This week will include the following titles: 2/14: Kingsman: The Secret Service 2/15: Deadpool 2/16: Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters 2/17: Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates 2/18: Epic To help users decide what's worth purchasing, the Movie of the Day app provides user reviews, information on a movie's cast, and a film synopsis to help users The Movie of the Day app can be downloaded for free on the Apple TV, and it's also available on iOS devices. [Direct Link]

FOX Sports GO Now Available on Apple TV

FOX Sports GO has officially launched on the fourth-generation Apple TV. The app, previewed by Apple at WWDC 2016, has a split-screen interface that enables sports fans to watch up to four games at once, be it four MLB games or a combination of baseball, basketball, football, and hockey. The app provides live streams of Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Deportes, and Fox College Sports, and selected events airing on Fox and its regional sports networks, based on your location and which channels you are subscribed to through your cable or satellite TV package. Coverage includes MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, NASCAR, UEFA Champions League, FIFA World Cup, UFC, and more. Subject to local availability, subscribers will also have access to full seasons of hometown MLB, NBA, and NHL telecasts. FOX Sports GO requires authenticating with an existing cable or satellite TV subscription, with partnered networks including AT&T U-Verse, Bright House Networks, Cable One, Cablevision, Charter Spectrum, Cox Communications, DirecTV, Google Fiber, Midcontinent Communications, PlayStation Vue, Sling TV, Suddenlink Communications, Time Warner Cable, Verizon FiOS, WOW!, and Xfinity TV. FOX Sports GO is available now as a free download on the tvOS App

Apple Enlists Networks to Negotiate With Local Affiliates in Streaming TV Talks

Apple's discussions with ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox for its much-rumored streaming TV service are gaining momentum, according to the New York Post. The report claims that Apple has enlisted networks to negotiate with local TV stations on their behalf, and the networks are said to be close to securing those rights with affiliate groups such as Tribune and Sinclair. Networks are reportedly telling affiliates that they will be able to share the revenue generated from Apple's streaming TV service if they offer their feeds on the platform. The inclusion of local TV stations is important for the success of Apple's cable-cutter service, expected to launch in the fall for devices including iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. The service is speculated to cost between $10 and $40 per month.At CBS, executives are talking to affiliates about conducting Apple negotiations on their behalf, one TV source confirmed. At Fox, the network “has the ability to negotiate with Apple [for affiliates], or it will have it very soon,” a second executive added.Disney and CBS will likely be among the first networks to reach a deal with Apple for its à-la-carte streaming TV service, according to the report, although some sticking points remain in the negotiations. Cable channels such as Discovery and ESPN are also expected to be included in the subscription-based service, which is rumored to include a skinny bundle of around 25