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Brazilian antitrust watchdog approves Disney-FOX deal

According to the agreement, Disney will have to keep on the programming grid, including the broadcast of the Latin American Copa Libertadores

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  • Disney will have to keep the same sports broadcasts as Fox Sports for three years;
  • If Disney isn’t interested in broadcasting it, the company should cede the channel to other interested groups.

Brazilian antitrust watchdog CADE approved Walt Disney Co’s deal to acquire 21st Century Fox on Wednesday. The rapporteur of the case at the antitrust watchdog, Luis Henrique Braido, stressed that Disney, owner of the sports channel ESPN, tried to sell its rival Fox Sports, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, the deal didn’t go forward.

“In light of this, behavioral measures were negotiated with Disney that mitigates the competition problems previously noted and seeks to ensure the diversity of sports programming for Brazilian consumers,” CADE said in a statement.

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Reuters recalls that after Disney failed to secure a buyer for Fox Sports channels, CADE accepted the deal requesting Disney to keep the same sports broadcasts for three years, keep Fox Sports channel active, and commit to the transmission of the South American soccer championship. According to the agreement, Disney will have to keep on the programming grid, including the broadcast of the Latin American Copa Libertadores, until January 1st, 2022.

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If Disney is uninterested in keeping the channels, it should cede the brand to other interested groups, CADE decided. In February 2019, CADE approved the purchase of Fox by Disney subject to the sale of the Fox Sports channel. But the sale was not completed in the agreed time. For this reason, the Brazilian watchdog agency decided last November to review the operation.