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Mexico regulator orders Disney to sell Fox Sports within six months

Mexico’s antitrust regulator, IFT, has ordered Disney to sell the Fox Sports channel in the country and its associated media rights within the next six months as a condition of its approval of the company’s $71.3bn (€63bn) acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets

IFT said in its announcement that Disney’s ownership of ESPN and Fox Sports in Mexico would potentially be the source of “important risks” to competition in the country as the combined entity would together hold about 80 per cent of the market audience.

Fox Sports’ properties in Mexico include rights to Conacaf events, the German Bundesliga, the Mexican football club Monterrey, and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

IFT also ruled that to ensure that the supply of sports channels remained independent, Disney’s ESPN is prevented from jointly operating with Fox Sports as a combined entity and acquiring, producing or licensing content with them.

The companies have been given 10 days to accept the IFT’s terms, which were announced on Tuesday.

Disney expects the deal to be completed on March 20.

Mexico’s approval was the final major hurdle for the merger, after Brazil’s regulator Cade rubber-stamped the agreement last month after Disney agreed to divest Fox Sports and its associated media rights in the country.