It’s been a long and meandering road, but it seems Disney is about to pip Comcast at the post.
Per Deadline, the Mouse House has officially won U.S. antitrust approval to acquire 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets for $71.3 billion, an eye-watering sum that equates to around $38 a share. There is one condition, though: under the Justice Department’s ruling, Disney must sell all 22 regional sports networks currently owned by Fox.
Neither Comcast nor 21st Century Fox have offered any form of statement, but this green light from the Department of Justice is undoubtedly a big win for the Mouse House, as it looks to compete with digital rivals like Netflix and Amazon.
We should stress that today’s ruling isn’t the final green light for Disney, as several other regulatory bodies will still need to weigh in before its merger with Fox is signed, sealed and delivered. There’s also the small matter of Comcast, which is said to be preparing a new offer that will presumably top the $71.3 billion bid currently on the table from Bob Iger and Co.
MORE FROM THE WEB
The U.S. cable giant recently put forward a $65 billion offer to acquire the same sought-after entertainment assets – X-Men and Deadpool included – though as things stand, Comcast is beginning to fall behind. And fast.
The Department of Justice’s official ruling found that:
American consumers have benefitted from head-to-head competition between Disney and Fox’s cable sports programming that ultimately has prevented cable television subscription prices from rising even higher. Today’s settlement will ensure that sports programming competition is preserved in the local markets where Disney and Fox compete for cable and satellite distribution.
Providing everything goes according to plan, adding Fox’s entertainment assets to the Disney arsenal would certainly allow the latter media giant to create more content across the board. Which, for those at Marvel Studios, includes gaining access to the X-Men, Fantastic Four and the Merc With a Mouth himself, Deadpool.