Fox shareholders approve Walt Disney's US$71b deal

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NEW YORK (July 27): Twenty-First Century Fox Inc said on Friday its shareholders voted to approve Walt Disney Co's US$71 billion purchase of its film and television assets.

Results were announced at a special shareholders' meeting held in New York.

Disney was forced to sweeten its offer last month after Comcast Corp, the largest US cable company, made a US$66 billion bid for Fox's well-known TV shows and movie franchises, including the "X-Men" and "The Simpsons."

The bidding between Comcast and Disney was part of a bigger battle in the entertainment industry as media companies spend tens of billions of dollars on deals to compete with Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc.

Last week, Comcast dropped its pursuit of Fox's film and television studios, cable networks and international TV businesses.

Disney's cash and stock offer has already received approval from US regulators. In an agreement with the US Department of Justice, Disney, which owns sports network ESPN, said it would divest 22 of Fox's regional sports networks.

Rupert Murdoch, who owns 17% of Fox's voting shares along with his family, could have faced a large capital gains tax bill under Comcast's all-cash offer.

Fox will separate the Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network and its sports channels FS1, FS2, and the Big Ten Network into a newly listed company that it will spin off to its shareholders.