Chinese regulators approve Disney acquisition of Fox assets
The Walt Disney Company announced on Monday that its purchase of multi-media company 21st Century Fox’s assets had received unconditional approval from Chinese regulators, according to a report by the New York Times.
While several countries have yet to finalize their regulatory and anti-trust stipulations with regards to the deal, approval from the Chinese government is being hailed as a “particularly notable” success, “because it came without conditions”.
China is “a crucial growth market for Disney, given its swelling middle class”, the Times reports. With the total value of the deal in excess of US$71.3bn, several regulatory bodies in Europe and the United States have required Disney to divest itself of some Fox assets.
European regulators required Disney to sell its controlled portion of A&E Networks, and while “United States antitrust officials gave their approval with remarkable speed in June”, the company was required to release “Fox’s 22 regional sports networks, including the Yankees’ YES channel”. Disney is currently moving to sell these properties, valued by analysts at $22bn.
Disney’s purchase of the majority of 21st Fox’s assets was initially forecast for completion in June 2019. However, in the wake of the unrestricted approval from Chinese regulators, Disney CEO Robert A. Iger has said the deal would be closed “meaningfully earlier”.
According to the New York Times, products of note Disney will remain in control of are: “the Fox television studio, which has more than 30 series in production, and the 20th Century Fox movie studio, which controls the “X-Men” and “Avatar” franchises”, as well as the FX and National Geographic networks, and Star, “a fast-growing media company in India”.