Tuesday, 17 July, 2018

United States gives Disney-Fox deal antitrust approval

The Kingsman franchise is one of Fox's core properties.                  Twentieth Century Fox The Kingsman franchise is one of Fox's core properties. Twentieth Century Fox
Ivan Hill | 28 June, 2018, 04:40

Walt Disney's proposed mega-deal with 21st Century Fox moved a step closer to reality Wednesday as U.S. regulators conditionally cleared the tie-up which could reshape the media-entertainment landscape.

As part of the regulatory approval, the Justice Department has instructed Disney to divest Fox's regional sports networks. Comcast, which owns the NBCUniversal group and is the largest United States cable operator, was reportedly exploring partnering with another company on a higher bid. In May, the company announced that they were in the "advanced stages" of preparing an offer to top Disney's Fox bid. Other regulatory agencies still need to sign off on it and Comcast is considering upping its original offer of $65 billion to upwards of $90 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The DOJ's court filings included this map of Fox's regional sports networks. The DOJ was much less likely to approve a Comcast-Fox merger, which the latter was well aware of.

That concession was long expected, as Disney owns ESPN, but the Justice Department filed a complaint this morning to block the entertainment conglomerate from acquiring those properties. Comcast is now mulling its next steps, including possibly teaming up with private equity investors in its pursuit of Fox assets, a person familiar with the situation said on Wednesday.

'Cutting Iran's oil from market by November impossible'
Iran eased its "resistance economy" policy after many worldwide sanctions were lifted in January 2016 under the nuclear deal. Hundreds of merchants gathered in front of parliament in Tehran on Monday to protest at the rial's fall, witnesses said.


The move comes as the vigil continues in the high-stakes duel for 21st Century Fox's studio and cable network assets.

"American consumers have benefitted from head-to-head competition between Disney and Fox's cable sports programming that ultimately has prevented cable television subscription prices from rising even higher", Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department's Antitrust Division, said in a statement.

According to Reuters, Fox's RSNs have about 61 million subscribers and have rights to broadcast live games of 44 of 91 us professional sports teams in three of the four major sports leagues.

Fox has claimed that any tie-up with Comcast could face a tougher road with regulators, despite claims by Comcast to the contrary. That threat prompted AT&T Inc.to buy Time Warner Inc., a deal the government challenged and lost at trial earlier this month.

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