US gives Disney-Fox deal antitrust approval

  • Walt Disney has won U.S. antitrust approval to buy most of Twenty-First Century Fox assets for $71.3 billion on condition it sell 22 regional sports networks, the Justice Department said on Wednesday.
  • Fox and Disney are preparing to go ahead with their deal, which Fox chose over a competing $65 billion bid from cable operator Comcast earlier this month.
An entrance to the Fox Studios is shown in Los Angeles.
Mike Blake | Reuters
An entrance to the Fox Studios is shown in Los Angeles.

Walt Disney has won U.S. antitrust approval to buy most of Twenty-First Century Fox'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 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 and Amazon.

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

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC.