The Walt Disney Company cleared another hurdle today in their impending purchase of Fox and its assets, as the deal has officially been approved by Chinese regulators. As reported by Variety, the Chinese authorities have given the deal their seal of approval, quashing some rumors that Donald Trump’s increasing unfriendly trade war with the country might prompt them to try and stall what will be one of the biggest entertainment mergers of all-time.
This is good news, too, as the Chinese market is now notoriously important for Hollywood and particularly, Disney. Chinese audiences have contributed sizable bumps to MCU movies, the company opened the Shanghai Disney resort in 2016 and many of the Fox properties they hope to own (particularly James Cameron’s Avatar) were enormous hits in the Chinese market.
Their approval comes on the heels of the deal being approved by the European Commission, who said that as long as Disney divest their interests in factual channels they run in the European Economic Area, they’re happy to give it the seal of approval.
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While both of these approvals weren’t entirely unexpected, international regulators can be much more stringent in their examinations than their US counterparts, and in these turbulent times a gigantic deal like this could begin to be caught up in wider geopolitical concerns. All this means that the approvals will be welcome news for both Disney and Fox. The alternative if they hadn’t been able to hash out these divestments would have been investigations and re-workings of the terms of the deal, which neither company would want to get back into (though I’m sure their armies of lawyers would be salivating at the prospect).
In practical terms, this means that there’s a prospect of getting the whole thing sorted by late spring 2019. This is slightly ahead of predictions but, if momentum is in their direction and Disney are feeling pretty ballsy, could mean that we’ll see an X-Men teaser attached to Avengers 4? Time will tell, but could you imagine the commotion that would cause?