Disney’s long road to the acquisition of 21st Century Fox properties could be nearing its end. After a 5-to-1 vote yesterday, Brazil’s antitrust regulatory agency Cade has given the Disney-Fox merger the go-ahead. As was expected, this approval did not come without stipulations.
Brazil’s worries, and they are not the first to address this issue, were that Disney’s control of both ESPN and Fox Sports channels would give it too much power over sports programming in the country. To make this deal stick, Disney will sell its Fox Sports channels in Brazil but retain its ESPN programming. Disney has also agreed to offer free use of the Fox brand to whichever company purchases those channels, and they won’t attempt to reacquire the sports leagues that already have deals with Fox Sports for a fixed period.
In the United States, Disney has promised the Department of Justice that it will sell its 22 regional Fox Sports channels within 90 days of the deal’s finalization.
According to a statement from the regulators, Brazil conferred with Mexico about this solution to the Disney-Fox sports issue. That could be very good news for Disney, as Mexico’s may be the last approval they need before claiming the deal finalized. The statement said, “In Latin America, the close dialogue between agencies in Brazil, Mexico and Chile resulted in a coordinated solution to the case.”
Some have speculated that this could put the timeline for the deal’s official conclusion as early as next week.