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Disney Fox deal valued at $71.3 billion approved by shareholders

Disney's $71.3 billion acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox's entertainment division -- a media industry megamerger that is expected to help the Walt Disney Co. better compete with larger technology players like Amazon and Netflix -- is one step closer to happening after shareholders approved the deal Friday.

The tie-up brings together Marvel's X-Men and Avengers franchises and creates an entertainment behemoth in the digital streaming era. The deal won approval from the Department of Justice last month, under the condition that Disney sell its 22 regional sports networks. 

Friday's shareholder vote caps a saga that began in December 2017, when Disney made its first offer for part of Rupert Murdoch's media conglomerate. It kicked off a bidding skirmish with Comcast. Comcast offered nearly $66 billion for Fox's assets, which include the FX network, and Disney then raised its bid to more than $70 billion. Comcast dropped out last week to focus on an attempted buyout of the European pay-TV operator Sky.

The battle for 21st Century Fox reflects a new imperative among entertainment and telecommunications companies, as seen by AT&T's recent takeover of Time Warner. Media giants are increasingly consolidating in a fast-changing industry that has both established and upstart news and entertainment brands amassing ever more programming to better compete with technology companies such as Amazon and Netflix for viewers' attentions -- and dollars.

The agreement is not expected to close for several months and still requires certain regulatory approvals. 

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