Dis­ney’s bid for Fox clears US an­titrust hur­dle

The Standard Journal - - ENTERTAINMENT -

NEW YORK — The Walt Dis­ney Co. won U.S. an­titrust ap­proval for its $71.3 bil­lion bid for Twenty-First Cen­tury Fox’s en­ter­tain­ment as­sets.

Dis­ney must first sell its 22 re­gional sports net­works, the Depart­ment of Jus­tice said. The com­pany has 90 days to sell the net­works, with an op­tion to ex­tend for an­other 90 days based on last week’s rul­ing on June 27.

Fox’s as­sets have been the tar­get of bid­ding war be­tween Com­cast and Dis­ney. Com­cast of­fered nearly $66 bil­lion for Fox’s as­sets, which in­clude the FX net­work and the stu­dio that houses the X-Men fran­chise.

Fox has the op­tion to con­sider other of­fers and Com­cast could raise its bid.

The bat­tle for Twenty-First Cen­tury Fox re­flects a new im­per­a­tive among en­ter­tain­ment and telecommunications firms.

They are amass­ing ever more pro­gram­ming to bet­ter com­pete with com- pa­nies such as Ama­zon and Net­flix for view­ers’ at­ten­tion — and dol­lars. The news comes on the heels of AT&T buy­ing Time Warner for $81 bil­lion.

“To­day’s set­tle­ment will en­sure that sports pro­gram­ming com­pe­ti­tion is pre­served in the lo­cal mar­kets where Dis­ney and Fox com­pete for cable and satel­lite dis­tri­bu­tion,” said As­sis­tant At­tor­ney Gen­eral Makan Del­rahim of the Jus­tice Depart­ment’s an­titrust divi­sion in a state­ment.

Fox de­clined to com­ment.

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