The proposed takeover of 21st Century Fox’s film and television assets has been going on for some six months now, but things have taken a step forward this week as Disney has secured approval from the U.S. Department of Justice with regards to its planned acquisition.
To secure the DOJ’s blessing, Disney has agreed to sell of 21st Century Fox’s 22 regional sports networks, avoiding any anti-competition issues given that Disney also owns its own cable sports programming with ESPN.
“The parties have worked diligently since announcing the acquisition last December to provide the DOJ the information that it needed for its investigation of the transaction,” said Disney (via Variety). “We are pleased that the DOJ concluded that, with the exception of the proposed acquisition of the Fox Sports Regional Networks, the transaction will not harm competition, and that we were able to resolve the limited potential concerns to position us to move forward with this exciting opportunity that will enable us to create even more compelling consumer experiences. ”
The deal would now give Disney the 20th Century Fox and FOX movie and television studios, FX Networks, National Geographic, Star India, and Fox’s stakes in Hulu and Sky. The remaining 21st Century Fox assets – Fox Broadcasting, Fox News and Fox Sports – would form a new entity, dubbed ‘New Fox’.
The Walt Disney Company had originally agreed a $52.4 billion deal to acquire Fox’s entertainment assets back in December, only for Comcast to come in with a higher offer of $65 billion earlier this month. In response, Disney increased its own offer to $71.3 billion, and analysts are predicting that bidding could reach as high as $90 billion before all is said and done.