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Disney secures EC approval for Fox deal with conditions

Disney has secured European Commission approval for its acquisition of Fox’s entertainment business on condition that it sells off its interest in factual channels controlled by A+E Networks.

A+E Networks – a joint venture between Disney and Hearst – operates History, H2,Crime & Investigation, Blaze and Lifetime.

The EC’s investigation into the merger found that the deal would eliminate competition between two strong suppliers of factual channels in a number of EEA member states. Disney has agreed to divest its interest in these channels to secure approval of the deal.

The EC’s probe found that the combination of Disney and Fox’s entertainment assets did not raise any competition concerns related to the production and distribution of movies for theatrical release or the distribution of content for home entertainment the licensing of films and other content.

The EC’s ruling clears the way for Disney to move ahead with its acquisition of Fox’s assets. The agreement has already secured approval from the US Department of Justice on condition that Disney divest 22 regional sports networks owned by Fox within 90 days of the acquisition closing.

Fox executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch recently intimated that the post-sale ‘new Fox’ could look to buy back those assets to complement its existing national sports network and Fox News.