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Mexican regulator gives Fox Sports sale more time in Disney-Fox deal

Mexico’s telecoms regulator said on Friday it has pushed back until May 1 its deadline for the sale of Fox Sports in Mexico as part of the terms of Walt Disney Co’s acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc film and television assets.

The Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) said it was postponing the deadline, which had been set to expire on Friday, for selling the Fox Sports channels because of the difficulty of completing the sale amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The regulator said the companies had requested the extension.

The IFT in 2019 approved Disney’s $71 billion purchase of Fox’s film and television assets, subject to the sale of Fox Sports channels, due to the “considerable” accumulation of market power the acquisition would create.

The extension does not exempt the companies from complying with various conditions set for the transaction, including the upkeep and sale of Fox Sports in Mexico as a viable business, the IFT said in a statement. The divestiture process must conclude by May 7, the regulator added.

Mexican broadcaster Televisa later in 2019 won an injunction against the merger over its impact on competition in Mexico, but the IFT said that the ruling would not stall the deal.

Reporting by Cassandra Garrison and Abraham Gonzalez; Editing by Will Dunham. Reuters

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