Disney Declares Shareholder Dividend As Fox Vigil Continues

Disney Declares Shareholder Dividend As Fox Vigil Continues

Both Disney and Comcast want to expand their own entertainment businesses with Fox's well-known TV shows and movie franchises such as the "X-Men" superheroes and "The Simpsons", to compete with fast-growing digital rivals Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc.

The deal became possible when Rupert Murdoch, 87, and his sons chose to slim down their media-entertainment empire, leaving them with the Fox News Channel, the Fox broadcast network and some sports cable operations.

Walt Disney's proposed mega-deal with 21st Century Fox moved a step closer to reality Wednesday as USA regulators conditionally cleared the tie-up which could reshape the media-entertainment landscape. Per the deal, Disney will sell off the all 22 FOX Regional Sports Networks like Fox Sports Detroit and Fox Sports Midwest as part of the deal.

The Department of Justice has approved the Walt Disney Company's proposed purchase of 21st Century Fox properties on the condition that the company divests Fox-owned regional sports networks (RSNs).

The settlement clears a major hurdle for Disney and Fox, but they still must maneuver antitrust laws around the globe before the merger can be finalized.

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"Today's settlement will ensure that sports programming competition is preserved in the local markets where Disney and Fox compete for cable and satellite distribution", said Makan Delrahim, the head of the department's antitrust division.

Fox also declined to comment. The $38-a-share price is about $10 a share higher than what Disney offered in December - and $3 above Comcast's bid.

The proposed settlement will be considered by a U.S. federal court for final approval. FOX News isn't covered by the deal, however. Even so, THR cautions that "Comcast is not out of the running quite yet as it could still top Disney's offer".

This morning, The Wall Street Journal reported that Comcast is exploring deals with other companies and private equity firms, looking for options in case the bidding approaches that lofty level. However, the authorization comes with one big caveat: Disney must sell certain sports networks.

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