×

E.U. Approves Disney-Fox Deal, With Conditions

European authorities have approved Disney’s purchase of 21st Century Fox assets, with conditions attached. The European Commission said that Disney had agreed to offload it’s A&E channels in Europe to alleviate concerns that the Fox deal would eliminate competition in the realm of factual channels.

Through its A&E joint venture with Hearst, Disney has stakes in the History, H2, Crime & Investigation, Blaze and Lifetime channels. The Fox assets it’s acquiring include the National Geographic family of channels, which offer a similar lineup of factual and factual-entertainment fare.

Disney’s pledges to ditch the A&E channels “fully remove the overlap between Disney’s and Fox’s activities in the wholesale supply of factual channels in the EEA,” the commission said in a statement, referring to the European Economic Area, which encompasses 31 countries.

As major studios, Fox and Disney have large output deals with broadcasters and pay-TV platforms throughout Europe. But European antitrust authorities found no competition issues in terms of the production and distribution of movies, or licensing of film and TV shows.

The European Commission concluded “that the proposed transaction, as modified by the commitments, would no longer raise competition concerns.” It added: “The commission’s decision is conditional upon full compliance with the commitments.”

The Disney-Fox deal is expected to close in the first half of 2019. Disney will take control of a raft of Fox assets, including Fox’s 50% stake in Endemol Shine after sale of the production group stalled, but not the History, Lifetime and the other A&E channels in Europe.

Disney will remain a joint venture partner in A&E elsewhere.

In a statement it said: “We are gratified by the decision of the European Commission to clear the transaction with the sole remedial measure being the divesting of our interests in Europe of the History, H2, Crime + Investigation, Blaze and Lifetime channels. Disney will continue to be a 50% owner of A&E apart from the companies operating these channels in Europe. We continue to pursue clearance as quickly as possible in the jurisdictions that remain.”

More Biz

  • It

    Producer Sues Warner Bros. Over 'It' Film Adaptations

    A producer who developed the original “It” TV miniseries sued Warner Bros. on Thursday, alleging the studio breached his contract by making the films “It” and “It Chapter Two” without him. Frank Konigsberg and Larry Sanitsky were running Telepictures in the early 1980s when they acquired the rights to the Stephen King novel. They developed [...]

  • Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer

    Starz Nears Realignment: Why Lionsgate Won't Hire a CEO to Replace Chris Albrecht

    Nearly six months after Starz CEO Chris Albrecht exited in February, Lionsgate brass is moving closer to a revamp of the premium TV network’s executive structure. According to insiders, at least one thing is clear: Albrecht is not expected to be replaced as CEO. Instead, Lionsgate chief executive Jon Feltheimer is taking a more active [...]

  • Movie Ticket Subscriptions

    As MoviePass Fades, Theaters Fall In Love With Subscription Services

    MoviePass may be cratering, but movie theater subscriptions are here to stay. AMC and Cinemark already operate their own online ticketing services. And by the end of July, Regal Entertainment is expected to unveil a subscription plan for customers accustomed to getting all manner of entertainment for a monthly fee. With ticket sales down more [...]

  • John FordNPact Awards, Show, Los Angeles,

    John Ford to Exit as Head of Unscripted Producers Trade Association NPact

    John Ford has stepped down as general manager of NPact, the trade association that represents unscripted TV producers. Ford is exiting the post he’s held since 2015 because of the potential for conflicts of interest arising from his role as head of programming for digital multicast outlets Justice Network and Quest Network. The channels were [...]

  • Woodstock 50 Applies for Vernon Downs

    Woodstock 50 Applies for Vernon Downs Permit Yet Again

    For better or worse, Woodstock 50 isn’t giving up on Vernon Downs, despite being rejected twice already: The producers have applied for another permit to hold the festival at Vernon Downs, according to the Utica Observer Dispatch. Town Attorney Vincent Rossi confirmed the application was submitted Wednesday. This is the festival’s third application; previous applications [...]

  • Bert and Ernie

    Sally Field, Linda Ronstadt and 'Sesame Street' Among 2019 Kennedy Center Honorees

    Sally Field, Linda Ronstadt, “Sesame Street,” conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and R&B veterans Earth, Wind and Fire have been selected as the 2019 Kennedy Center Honorees. The kudos will be handed out Dec. 8 at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, D.C. The award to “Sesame Street” marks the first time the prestigious laurel [...]

  • Jeffrey Epstein

    Jeffrey Epstein Denied Bail in Sex Trafficking Case

    Jeffrey Epstein, the high-living financier who partied and traveled with Hollywood stars and world leaders, has been denied bail. The multimillionaire businessman is accused of sexually abusing underage girls as young as 14 years old and collecting child pornography. Prosecutors argued successfully that Epstein’s wealth made him a serious flight risk. He faces up to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content