Disney has taken another step closer to completing its deal to buy Fox’s entertainment assets. It has been reported that the studio has agreed to sell Fox’s 22 regional sports networks, following a complaint filed in federal court this week by the Department of Justice.
As reported by Variety, the Department of Justice had argued that since Disney already owns national sports network ESPN, adding Fox’s sports assets to its roster would be highly anti-competitive. However, Disney’s agreement to sell them off has satisfied the DoJ, making Disney’s bid for Fox’s entertainment assets increasingly attractive to Fox shareholders in its battle with rivals Comcast.
Last week it was reported that Disney had increased its bid for Fox to $71.3 billion. The studio had initially bid $52.4 million, but Comcast’s higher counter offer of $60 billion in May had put the deal in doubt.
The deal is of particular interest to movie fans, as Fox holds the rights to many popular Marvel characters, most notably the X-Men and the Fantastic Four. A deal between Disney and Fox would mean that these characters could become part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Disney itself has stressed this, saying in an earlier statement that buying Fox will help create “richer, more complex worlds of inter-related characters and stories that audiences have shown they love.” In addition, successful properties such as Avatar–which currently has two sequels in production–The Simpsons, and the Alien and Predator series will become part of Disney’s roster.