Te deal of the century is edging closer on a worldwide scale as Disney’s Fox deal gets European Union clearance, subject to divestments. That means that European antitrust regulators approved Disney’s $71.3 billion purchase of the entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox on the condition that the company’s stakes in Europe are sold in such networks as Lifetime and History.
“To address the Commission’s competition concerns, Disney committed to divest its interest in all factual channels it controls in the European Economic Area (EEA), namely: History, H2, Crime & Investigation, Blaze and Lifetime channels,” the European Commission said. “These channels are currently controlled by A+E Television Networks, which is a joint venture between Disney and Hearst. The commitments fully remove the overlap between Disney’s and Fox’s activities in the wholesale supply of factual channels in the EEA.”
It added: “Therefore, the Commission concluded that the proposed transaction, as modified by the commitments, would no longer raise competition concerns. The Commission’s decision is conditional upon full compliance with the commitments.”
Disney said: “We are gratified by the decision of the European Commission to clear the transaction with the sole remedial measure being the divesting of our interests in Europe of the History, H2, Crime + Investigation, Blaze and Lifetime channels. Disney will continue to be a 50 percent owner of A&E apart from the companies operating these channels in Europe.”
It added: “We continue to pursue clearance as quickly as possible in the jurisdictions that remain.”