Disney Promises to Double Fox Asset Sales to Win Antitrust Nod
(Bloomberg) -- Walt Disney Co. is prepared to sell off businesses generating as much as $1 billion in cash flow to win regulatory approval of its $71 billion bid to buy 21st Century Fox Inc.’s entertainment assets, it said in a filing Thursday.
The promise, made as part of Disney’s improved offer for the assets, is double the $500 million of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization it initially offered to divest as part of the deal in December. The $1 billion in divestitures could include Fox’s regional sports networks, if the U.S. Department of Justice orders their sale.
Disney’s new offer intensified pressure on cable-TV operator Comcast Corp., which made a $65 billion bid for the Fox operations last week. The pair is battling over assets including Fox’s movie and TV studios, television networks such as FX, and multichannel providers such as Star India and Sky Plc. The Fox board shunned Comcast in favor of Disney six months ago, in large part due to concerns over potential regulatory problems with its offer.
The U.S. Justice Department is set to approve Disney’s deal in as soon as two weeks, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News on Wednesday. Disney has agreed to sell some assets to address competition problems stemming from the tie-up, that person said.
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