News Article

Disney-Fox Merger in Mexico, Still in Limbo Until March 2021

By Andrea Villar | Wed, 12/09/2020 - 11:29

This week, the Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFT) gave Disney three more months to complete the sale of Fox Sports’ business operation in Mexico. The sale of this business division is one of the conditions of the Mexican authorities for Disney to merge with Fox. The main argument behind this decision is that together with ESPN, Mickey Mouse's company would concentrate around 80 percent of sports content in the country.

Since March 2019, when the merger was approved, IFT has granted several deadline extensions to Disney because of the pandemic and the lack of a favorite buyer. On March 4, 2021, we will know if Disney has found a buyer or if, again, there is another extension.

Buyer in Sight?

SIPSE Group, along with Media Group and other investors, will likely present their proposal this week to acquire the Fox Sports business, according to sports columnist Ignacio Suárez, writing this Wednesday for Record. “They are putting the finishing touches to present their proposal formally this week to the ING bank in New York, which is in charge of reviewing the offers, giving them financial certainty and then handing them over to Disney's people so they can endorse them, even if the IFT gives the go-ahead,” Suárez explains.

According to the columnist, neither the Slim family in Mexico nor Marcos Achar, CEO of PPG Comex and VP of Architectural Coating Latin America, are interested in buying this business. 

How Does This Affect Disney?

Disney and Fox had already closed the financial transaction and are operating as a single company in most markets. Therefore, according to Bloomberg, any court decision will have little impact on Disney outside of Mexico.

On May 6, Brazil approved the Disney-Fox merger. The Administrative Council for Economic Defense of Brazil (CADE) said that although Disney tried to sell the Fox Sports channel, due to the crisis caused by COVID-19, it was impossible to proceed with the sale of the business. The Mickey Mouse company promised to maintain the schedule for three years or until the end of the contracts for the sporting events that are currently distributed in Brazil, including the transmission of the matches of Copa Libertadores de America, until January 1, 2022.

Andrea Villar Andrea Villar Journalist and Industry Analyst