Comcast can't be happy. But Disney is now back in the frontrunner seat to acquire 21st Century Fox.
There was a hurdle, that Disney just cleared, to get approval from the Department of Justice. The DOJ had filed a complaint to block Disney from nabbing 22 regional sports networks. Disney agreed to sell off the networks to get the DOJ approval. So now Disney can go ahead and take its new $71.3 billion offer to Fox shareholders and board members.
In its complaint, the DOJ had argued (via Variety):
"Disney's proposed acquisition of Fox's assets would combine two of the country's most valuable cable sports properties—Disney's ESPN franchise of networks and Fox's portfolio of Regional Sports Networks —and thereby likely substantially lessen competition in the multiple Designated Market Areas throughout the United States in which these two firms compete."
Disney shared a new statement Wednesday, after getting the Justice Department's approval:
"The parties have worked diligently since announcing the acquisition last December to provide the DOJ the information that it needed for its investigation of the transaction. We are pleased that the DOJ concluded that, with the exception of the proposed acquisition of the Fox Sports Regional Networks, the transaction will not harm competition, and that we were able to resolve the limited potential concerns to position us to move forward with this exciting opportunity that will enable us to create even more compelling consumer experiences."
Disney's $71.3 billion cash/stock offer topped Comcast's all-cash $65 billion offer, but Comcast is expected to make another offer. So this isn't over yet, but Disney currently has the edge.
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