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Disney-Fox deal gets China's unconditional approval

Disney-Fox deal gets China's unconditional approval
Visitors watch fireworks explode over the castle at an event to mark the first anniversary of the opening of Shanghai Disneyland. (AFP/Getty Images)

Walt Disney Co. said it has received unconditional approval from Chinese regulators for its blockbuster deal to buy much of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox Inc., clearing another key hurdle for the completion of the $71.3-billion purchase.

Burbank-based Disney has been pushing for international regulators’ green lights for its pending acquisition of Fox, which includes Fox’s movie and television studios and cable channels including FX and National Geographic.

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The deal secured regulatory approval in the United States after Disney agreed to divest Fox’s 22 regional sports networks. The European Union in Brussels said this month that it had conditionally approved the deal, on condition of Disney selling its stake in the History, Lifetime, Crime + Investigation and Blaze television channels in Europe.

China is a key market for the U.S. entertainment industry and Disney in particular, representing a growing share of the global box office and theme park industry. The company has made successful inroads in the world’s most populous nation with its Shanghai Disney Resort, which opened in 2016.

Chinese regulators approved the Disney-Fox deal without conditions, despite growing trade-related tensions between Beijing and the Trump administration.

Disney shares fell 0.7% to $115.42 on Monday. Fox stock rose 1.6% to $48.91 a share.

CNBC first reported the news of the approval.

3:10 p.m.: This article was updated with stocks’ closing prices.

9:15 a.m.: This article was updated with stock prices and additional details.

This article was originally published at 9 a.m.

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