Disney, Fox Merger Could See Four-Month Delay After EU Ruling

In June, Walt Disney made a $71.3 billion bid for Twenty-First Century Fox’s entertainment assets, beating out a Comcast bid for $65 billion. According to Reuters, EU antitrust regulators will rule on the deal by an Oct. 19 deadline.

Disney filed for EU approval on Sept. 14. The EU has the option to approve the merger, or open an investigation that could potentially delay the deal by as much as four months. The U.S. Justice Department already approved the deal in June, on the condition that Disney sell off a number of sports networks owned by Fox.

The Fox-Disney merger has been a long time coming, especially for Marvel comic book fans. Fox’s assets could officially bring The X-Men into the Marvel Universe. Characters like Wolverine interact with The Avengers in the comic books, but because of ownership rights, have never appeared in the film universes together.

marvel logo Marvel's logo. Marvel

Marvel isn’t Disney’s only huge franchise; the company owns ABC, ESPN, Pixar, Marvel Studios and Star Wars. Other FX assets would include brands like National Geographic and Hulu. The Fox merger would give Disney access to an enormous library of content that will likely serve its ambitions to expand into on-demand streaming. After the deal was announced, Disney’s chief executive Robert A. Iger told the New York Times the company’s future depends on such services.

“We believe creating a direct-to-consumer relationship is vital to the future of our media businesses, and it’s our highest priority,” he said.

The potential Fox merger comes after Disney’s second highest earnings year in history. According to Deadline, box office totals for 2018 are $6.46 billion (third highest in industry history). Those numbers includes big hits like Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War , Solo: A Star Wars Story, A Wrinkle in Time, and Incredibles 2.

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