IFT approves Disney-Fox merger in Mexico with its sports channels sale

Telecommunications Federal Institute (IFT) approved the agreement between Walt Disney and 21st Century Fox entertainment assets for USD 71 billion, with the condition that both companies agree to sell Fox Sports channels and programming rights in Mexico. Information was given by newspaper ‘El Financiero’, which mentions ‘two people with knowledge of the situation’. Disney expects the purchase to take place on March 20th.

The Mexican regulator concluded that ESPN ownership by Disney would create a concentration, and would leave Televisa Group as the only competitor in that market. The merger had been approved last February by the Economic Competition Federal Comision (Cofece).

Mexico was the last important stage to ran the merger agreement between the companies. Brazilian Economic Defense Administrative Council (CADE), that country’s regulatory agency, approved the merger last month with in a similar divestment process: Disney and Fox both accepted Fox Sports Brazil’s sale to obtain IFT’s approval.

In the US, Disney agreed to sale Fox’s 22 regional sports networks after the Justice Department established that those channels and ESPN’s ownership would give the company an extra influence in sports broadcastings. Disney would also sell its 50% A&E Networks part to satisfy regulators.