US gives Disney-Fox deal antitrust approval

WASHINGTON, June 27 (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co. has won U.S. antitrust approval to buy most of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc’s assets for $71.3 billion on the condition that it sell 22 regional sports networks, the Justice Department said on Wednesday.

The Fox-Disney deal, agreed in December, still needs numerous other regulatory approvals from other countries.

Fox and Disney are preparing to go ahead with their deal, which Fox chose over a competing $65 billion bid from cable operator Comcast Corp. earlier this month.

Disney said last week in a regulatory filing that it was willing to divest Fox assets that generated up to $1 billion in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) to get a regulatory nod for the deal.

The media conglomerate had previously planned to divest Fox assets that generated $500 million in EBITDA.

Both Disney and Comcast want to expand their own entertainment businesses with Fox's well-known TV shows and movie franchises such as the "X-Men" superheroes and "The Simpsons," to compete with fast-growing digital rivals Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc.

Disney and Fox did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The Justice Department declined to comment.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz and David Shepardson Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Bill Rigby)

Read Full Story