Maker-Disney deal nears OK; Relativity's bid rejected

Mon Apr 14, 2014 6:40pm EDT

Relativity Media CEO Ryan Kavanaugh poses at the premiere of director Steven Soderbergh's new film ''Haywire'' in Hollywood, California January 5, 2012. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

Relativity Media CEO Ryan Kavanaugh poses at the premiere of director Steven Soderbergh's new film ''Haywire'' in Hollywood, California January 5, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Fred Prouser

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(Reuters) - YouTube network Maker Studios said on Monday a majority of shareholders had approved its purchase by Walt Disney Co, making clear it was not for sale to Relativity Media, which made a surprise bid of up to $1.1 billion for the company.

Disney agreed to buy Maker on March 24 for $500 million in cash, a price that could rise to $950 million if Maker hits certain performance milestones.

"The agreement has been approved by Maker Studios' Board of Directors and the majority of its shareholders and is expected to close in the next few weeks, subject to regulatory approval," Maker said in a statement on Monday.

Maker, founded in 2009, is one of the largest video production networks on Google Inc's YouTube. Maker targets the millennial generation, defined roughly as ages 14 to 34 and known for its appetite for online video.

Relativity, in a statement issued on Monday afternoon, said it had made a "compelling offer" that would have benefited Maker, its employees and talent.

"We will continue to aggressively explore future opportunities that align with our strategy to accelerate digital content creation and distribution," Relativity said.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles and Supriya Kurane in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das, Ronald Grover, Jonathan Oatis and Jan Paschal)

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