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Disney handed six-month extension to sell Fox Sports’ Mexican arm

The Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT), Mexico’s antitrust regulator, has agreed to hand Disney and Fox Sports a six-month extension to sell its sports assets in Mexico.

The IFT has ordered an independent auditor to take sole responsibility for the sale or divestment of the sports business after Disney indicated that potential buyers for the sporting assets had requested more time to review the assets before making any formal offers.

The IFT has now set a deadline of May 1, 2020, for Fox Sports México to be sold or divested from the central business which the regulator has said is the only one it is willing to allow.

Disney was required to find a buyer for Fox Sports México as a requirement of its $71.3bn (€63.9bn) acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets which was finalised in March.

Disney was ordered to sell or divest the Mexican business by November 1 after being given the six-month window to sell at the beginning of May.

The IFT found that, were Disney to retain the Fox Sports México channel, it would boast as much as 70 per cent of Mexico’s sports broadcasting market share. Both Disney and 21st Century Fox had stakes in various pay-television broadcasters in Mexico.

Fox Sports’ properties in Mexico included the rights to Concacaf events, the German Bundesliga, Liga MX football team Monterrey’s home matches, and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

When the IFT’s decision was announced it removed the final hurdle Disney faced to completing the 21st Century Fox deal after the regulator’s Brazilian counterpart Cade ordered a similar sell or divesture of the sporting assets in the South American nation.