Disney gets approval from China for its Fox acquisition, sending shares of both companies up

  • The deal still needs regulatory approval from several countries, but the unconditional Chinese approval is a big step forward for Disney.
  • A deal could be completed as early as spring 2019.
  • Shares of Disney turned positive for the session on the news, rising roughly 1 percent before falling back into the red. Shares of Fox rose as much as 3 percent before paring some gains.
Bob Iger
Stephen Desaulniers | CNBC
Bob Iger

Chinese regulators approved Disney's proposed acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox assets Monday, CNBC has learned, sending each company's stock higher.

Shares of Disney turned positive for the session on the news, rising roughly 1 percent before falling back into the red. Shares of Fox rose as much as 3 percent before paring some gains.

The deal still needs regulatory approval from several countries, but the unconditional Chinese approval marks a big hurdle for Disney, amid ongoing trade tensions. U.S. antitrust regulators approved the deal in June, and EU regulators backed the deal earlier this month — though both attached divestment conditions.

A deal could be completed as early as spring 2019.

Disney initially agreed in December to buy the majority of Fox for $52.4 billion in stock. The deal at the time included Fox's movie studios, networks National Geographic and FX, Star TV, and stakes in Sky, Endemol Shine Group and Hulu, as well as regional sports networks.

The company later upped its bid north of $70 billion, beating out CNBC-parent company Comcast in a bidding war.

Disclosure: Comcast owns NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC, and is a co-owner of Hulu.

— CNBC's Alex Sherman contributed to this report.