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Shareholders approve Fox Disney deal

An image of Mickey Mouse, the official mascot of The Walt Disney Company, is displayed outside the Disney Store in New York Image copyright Getty Images

Shareholders have signed off on Walt Disney's plan to buy the film and television assets of Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox for $71bn (£54bn).

The approval, which had been expected, bring the merger one step closer to completion.

Regulators in the US have already approved the plan, but it still needs the go-ahead in many other countries.

The companies said last December they hoped to complete the deal in 12-18 months.

Disney had faced competition from US cable giant Comcast for the Fox assets, but Comcast retreated after Disney raised its bid last month.

The two companies continue to vie for satellite broadcaster Sky.

Competitive move

Disney hopes the Fox acquisition will make it more competitive with online rivals such as Netflix, by giving it more shows and movies, as well as a bigger stake in the online streaming service Hulu.

It agreed to sell Fox's 22 regional sports networks in order to win approval from anti-trust regulators at the US Justice Department.

Fox plans to spin off its news and sports channels, including its flagship Fox News channel, into a newly listed company.

Fox shareholders will also receive shares in Disney as part of the deal.

Shareholders in both companies signed off on the cash-and-stock transaction at meetings on Friday.

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