Mexican regulators have given the final sign-off to Disney’s $73.1 billion merger with the assets of 21st Century Fox, clearing the way for the companies to complete the deal by March 20. The country’s Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) said Tuesday that during its regular session the day before it unanimously voted to approve the tie-up, subject to compliance with conditions that prevent competition risks like the selling off of Fox’s regional sports networks.
Disney earlier Tuesday in revealing the March 20 target date indicated the company has received the last major approval for the deal from Mexico. Like with Brazil last month, the main sticking point was Disney’s putative ownership of Fox Sports given the importance of soccer rights; the combination of Fox and Disney’s ESPN was also viewed warily by regulators in the U.S. and Europe, with major agencies there requiring divestitures.
Fox’s RSNs, with a collective worth of more than $15 billion, are in the process of being shopped. As stipulated by a settlement between Disney and the U.S. Department of Justice, those divestitures can continue for a short time beyond the main deal’s projected closing, but are expected to conclude this year.
Disney said Tuesday that 21st Century Fox shareholders will have until Thursday to choose the amount of cash and Disney stock to receive in the transaction; Fox shareholders will receive a mix of cash and stock valued at $38 a share in the deal.