Disney's purchase of Fox assets just took a major step toward being finalized today, as the European Commission cleared the acquisition under a few conditions.
"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," said a statement from the European Commission. "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."
Europe's approval comes after the United States Justice Department also okayed the purchase under the condition that Disney sell off the 22 regional sports networks owned by Fox.
While acquisitions of this magnitude aren't normally of interest among geeks, many fans are eager to see the deal get finalized sooner than later if only for Fox's X-Men and Fantastic Four properties falling under control of Marvel Studios.
Disney Chairman Bob Iger previously confirmed those properties would be moved under Kevin Feige's banner when the acquisition is finalized.
"I think it only makes sense," Iger said. "I want to be careful here because of what's been communicated to the Fox folks, but I think they know. It only makes sense for Marvel to be supervised by one entity. There shouldn't be two Marvels."0comments
While there might be some redundancies in the company once the purchase is completed, Iger maintained that they're going to make use of Fox's personnel as well as the intellectual property.
We’re going to take the best people from both companies and that's who's gonna basically be on the playing field for us. Meaning, talent will prevail," Iger said. "Fox Searchlight is a great example. You look at FX, NatGeo. Yeah, you’re buying libraries and brands, but you're also buying the people. I'm not gonna talk about specific people right now except to say that I've met with virtually the entire senior management team at Fox and I'm not only fully engaged with them on what the possibilities for them might be but I'm excited about the prospects."
Disney's purchase of Fox is reportedly going to be finalized in early 2019.