Mexico regulator gives Fox Sports divestment three-month extension

ZAPOPAN, MEXICO - MARCH 14: Jesus Gallardo of Monterrey takes a corner kick. (Photo by Oscar Meza/Jam Media/Getty Images)

Mexico’s telecoms regulator, the Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFT), has handed Disney and 21st Century Fox a three-month extension to divest the Fox Sports channels in Mexico.

The extension was allowed due to the global economic slowdown that has happened as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and gives the two parties until August 3 to sell the channels. The sale was a requirement of their $71bn (€62.2m) merger.

The IFT accepted that the sale would be difficult at this time and granted its second extension after having previously agreed to extend the deadline by six months in November. The previous deadline set a deadline for Disney and Fox to sell the Fox Sports channels by May 1, 2020.

Disney was initially ordered to sell or divest the Mexican business by November 1, 2019 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 holds a number of properties in Mexico, including the rights to selected Concacaf events, the German Bundesliga, Liga MX team Monterrey’s home matches, and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.