What Happened With the Disney-Fox Merger in Mexico? An UpdateBy Andrea Villar | Tue, 05/19/2020 - 12:11
More than a year after Disney closed the acquisition of film and television assets of 21st Century Fox valued at US$71 billion, marking one of the largest deals in the media industry in recent history, the path of this business has become blurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
What has happened in Mexico?
In early April, the Federal Communications Institute (IFT) decided to suspend the deadline to disincorporate Fox Sports in Mexico. Now, the process is scheduled to end in August and not in May since the suspension was granted for a period of three months, which began on March 9 and ends on June 19, 2020.
However, the IFT clarified that the suspension does not exempt Disney and Fox from compliance with the other established conditions, including maintaining Fox Sports' business in Mexico as an "independent, viable and competitive" business.
The order to divest from Fox Sports in Mexico is one of the conditions that the IFT imposed on March 11, 2019, to authorize The Walt Disney Company to acquire assets from 21st Century Fox. Both Disney and Fox had a market share of sports TV channels of around 70 percent, which would leave Televisa as the only remaining competitor. Disney also owns the sports network ESPN.
In early December 2019, a judge in Mexico granted Televisa a court order to delay the closing of Walt Disney's purchase of 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets in the country. However, the IFT said that the injunction granted to Televisa does not stop the acquisition in the country. With the COVID-19 crisis forcing Disney to cut costs and still pay for Fox's operation and its contractual commitments, there is no Fox Sports buyer in sight.