The acquisition of 21st Century Fox by Walt Disney worth $17.3 billion has been cleared by the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
The U.S. Department of Justice has however mandated the sale of the Fox Sports Regional Networks. The time frame for Disney to conduct the sale would be 90 days from the closing of the transaction according to the agreement between the company the antitrust regulators. There is however possibility of extensions of that time period by another 90 days under the agreement.
According to a statement published Wednesday by Disney, the clearance is subject to the normal court approval process.
This approval from the antitrust authorities clears the path for Disney to acquire the assets of 21st Century Fox through a bidding. Disney had announced last Wednesday that it had drawn up an redone acquisition agreement for the acquisition of 21st Century Fox and the new value of the offer was $71.3 billion in cash and stock. The aim of the new bid is to leave behind the offer by Comcast in the bidding war and to enhance its standing in the fats changing global entertainment industry. the earlier bid value as announced by Disney last December was worth $52.4 billion in stock. However, a counter bid of $65 billion in cash for 21st Century Fox was placed by Comcast, the US based global telecommunications giant.
The proposed acquisition would include the film and television studios of 21st Century Fox’, its cable entertainment networks and the international TV businesses which was the source of very popular entertainment assets such as X-Men, Avatar, The Simpsons, FX Networks. In addition, Disney would also get the very popular National Geographic channel. But 21st Century Fox’s 22 regional sports networks would have to be divested by Disney under the deal with the antitrust authorities.
“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. 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,” said Disney in the statement.
There were no response or comments made by Comcast on the clearance to its rival bidder.
The proposed deal now has to pass through a U.S. federal judge.
(Adapted from Xinhuanet.com)