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June 27, 2018

U.S. gives Disney-Fox deal antitrust approval

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U.S. gives Disney-Fox deal antitrust approval
FILE PHOTO: A screen shows the logo and a ticker symbol for The Walt Disney Company on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 14, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Walt Disney Co has won U.S. antitrust approval to buy most of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc’s assets for $71.3 billion on the condition that it sell 22 regional sports networks, the Justice Department said on Wednesday.

The Fox-Disney deal, agreed in December, still needs numerous other regulatory approvals from other countries.

Fox and Disney are preparing to go ahead with their deal, which Fox chose over a competing $65 billion bid from cable operator Comcast Corp (NASDAQ:CMCSA) earlier this month.

Disney said last week in a regulatory filing that it was willing to divest Fox assets that generated up to $1 billion in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) to get a regulatory nod for the deal.

The media conglomerate had previously planned to divest Fox assets that generated $500 million in EBITDA.

Both Disney and Comcast want to expand their own entertainment businesses with Fox’s well-known TV shows and movie franchises such as the “X-Men” superheroes and “The Simpsons,” to compete with fast-growing digital rivals Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN).

Disney and Fox did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The Justice Department declined to comment.

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