The Walt Disney Company cleared another hurdle today in their impending purchase of Fox and its assets, when the European Commission (who are responsible for managing the day to day business of the European Union) gave the thumbs up to the deal – as long as a few conditions are met.
With the deal set to comprehensively shake up the entertainment industry and allow Disney to consolidate yet more world famous IPs, they’re right to give it the scrutiny it deserves. Here’s their statement, which was delivered earlier today:
“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. … “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.”
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This approval wasn’t unexpected, but European regulators can be much more stringent in their examinations than their US counterparts, so this 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 a four month investigation into the deal, which both companies would have very much wanted to avoid.
Anyways, here’s Disney’s response:
“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. We continue to pursue clearance as quickly as possible in the jurisdictions that remain.”
In practical terms, this means that there’s a prospect of getting the deal 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 can you imagine the commotion that would cause?
Source: The Hollywood Reporter