Disney, Fox Set March 20 for Deal Close

About eight months after it agreed to purchase certain 21st Century Fox content assets for $71.3 billion, The Walt Disney Co. has set March 20 as the closing date of the transaction.

According to an 8-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 12, Disney and Fox said holders of Fox stock have until March 14 at 5 p.m. to select the form of consideration they wish to receive as part of the acquisition. Fox expects to distribute all shares as part of the deal on March 19 and that the transaction will be completed by 12:02 a.m. on March 20.

The closing ends what has been a sometimes contentious path to a deal. Disney first agreed to purchase the Fox assets in December 2017 for about $52.4 billion. Comcast, which had been an early bidder for the assets, made an unsolicited offer for the Fox properties in June 2018, touching off a brief bidding war for the assets, which ended in July with Disney agreeing to pay $71.3 billion for the assets. 

With the closing, Disney has 90 days to finalize the sale of 22 regional sports networks it inherited in the deal, a condition of federal approval of the Fox transaction. Disney put the RSNs up for sale in October, and at least one property -- YES Network -- is close to a deal. The RSNs were expected to fetch a price in the $20 billion range, but bids have come in at about half that, according to reports.