A day after the Walt Disney Co. won antitrust approval to proceed with buying a majority of 21st Century Fox, the deal is now one step closer to becoming a reality. After delaying the initial shareholders meeting, which was set for July 10, Fox has officially set a new date for shareholders to vote on the merger.
Fox shareholders will now meet on July 27, a little over two weeks later, to discuss Disney’s bid to purchase a majority of 21st Century Fox. While the shareholders will be able to voice their own concerns regarding the merger, it’s said that Fox recommended today that its shareholders vote in favor of the new $71.3 billion offer from Disney.
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However, there is one major party that is said to want to see what Comcast is able to counter with, as TCI Fund Management — a major Fox shareholder — wants Rupert Murdoch to delay the voting to allow the company more time to revise its bid.
There’s still time for Comcast to come back with a counteroffer, forcing Disney to increase its bid yet again. A letter sent to employees by Lachlan and James Murdoch seemed to suggest they expect the deal with Disney to close within six to 12 months following the Department of Justice’s conditional approval. It’s also thought that, despite welcoming a new counteroffer from Comcast, Rupert Murdoch is in favor of Disney over Comcast due to antitrust concerns, even after the successful AT&T and Time Warner merger.
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For now, while Disney may appear closer to securing the majority of 21st Century Fox, a deal is far from over. Comcast still has time to submit another bid, and until we know for sure how the Fox shareholders vote next month, it’s still very much anyone’s game to win.