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Disney Offers Concessions to Secure E.U. Approval of Fox Deal

The Walt Disney Company has offered antitrust concessions to help secure E.U. approval of its $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets. The move was announced Monday by the European Commission, which is reviewing competition concerns over the merger, with Disney having submitted its proposals Friday. Details of the concessions offered were not disclosed.

The European regulator has also extended its deadline for reviewing the merger from Oct. 19 to Nov. 11. The commission is expected to consult with customers and media competitors before deciding whether to accept Disney’s proposed concessions.

Disney received approval of the acquisition from the U.S. Justice Department in June after agreeing to sell off Fox’s 22 regional sports networks. Disney and Fox shareholders voted to approve the buyout on July 27.

Peter Rice, president of 21st Century Fox, told employees at a town hall meeting last week that the mega-deal with Disney was on course to close in the first half of 2019. The structure of the new Fox, made up of the remaining assets not acquired by Disney, is expected to be in place by Jan. 1. Rice will join Disney as a TV executive after the deal closes.

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