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Chinese regulators approve Disney-Fox merger

Chinese regulators have approved the Disney-Fox merger weeks after the Mouse received a conditional greenlight from the European Commission. 

China granted unconditional approval for the acquisition, which sees Disney take over Fox’s entertainment assets, including its Asian operations via Fox Networks Group Asia.

Chinese approval of the deal, which came on Monday (November 19), is a major milestone for the merger, and both Fox and Disney shares posted early gains.

While Disney shares rose around 1% before dipping down to US$115.42, Fox’s stock rose by as much as 3% to close out the day at US$48.54.

The approval comes five months after US antitrust regulators greenlit the deal, and just weeks after the European Commission okayed the acquisition, on the condition that Disney sell off its interest in factual channels controlled by A+E Networks.

It is believed that Disney is now in talks to sell off part of its stake in A+E Networks – which includes its interest in five European cable channels – to Hearst, its joint venture partner for the network group.

Earlier this month, Disney CEO Bob Iger said that the Mouse was “optimistic” about securing approval from remaining territories.

“Last June, we estimated it could take up to 12 months for the transaction to close, but we are increasingly optimistic it will be meaningfully earlier than that,” he said.

Approval is still required in a number of territories.

US outlet CNBC first reported the news.