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US Justice Dept. signs off on Disney’s $71B Fox deal

By: Jason Aycock From Seeking Alpha

The Justice Dept. made its sign-off official on Disney’s $71.3B acquisition of media assets from Twenty-First Century Fox.

That comes via a civil antitrust suit filed by the DOJ’s antitrust division today, along with a simultaneous settlement that resolves alleged competitive harm by requiring the divestment of 22 Fox regional sports networks.

That’s a move Disney’s already agreed to do, rather than go forward with more delays and face the suit. The settlement deal requires court approval.

Under a consent decree, Disney would have 90 days after closing the deal to complete selling off the RSNs, with a possible 90-day extension.

“American consumers have benefited 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,” said DOJ antitrust chief Makan Delrahim. “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.”

What’s next? The deal needs foreign approvals as well as the OK from shareholders of both companies. No meeting is set as yet.

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