EU regulators to rule on Disney's $71 billion bid for Fox assets by October 19

FILE PHOTO - The entrance to Walt Disney studios is seen in Burbank, California, U.S. August 6, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU antitrust regulators have set an Oct. 19 deadline for their ruling on Walt Disney's DIS.N $71.3 billion bid for Twenty-First Century Fox Inc's FOXA.O entertainment assets, the European Commission said on Monday.

Disney sought EU approval for the deal on Sept. 14, according to a filing on the EU competition website. It can either clear the deal with or without concessions or open a four-month long investigation if it has serious concerns.

The U.S. Justice Department gave the green light to the deal in June on condition Disney sells Fox’s 22 regional sports networks.

Acquisition of Fox’s assets would broaden Disney’s unrivaled portfolio of some of the world’s most popular characters, uniting Mickey Mouse, Luke Skywalker and Marvel superheroes with Fox’s X-Men, “Avatar” and “The Simpsons” franchises.

Disney owns ABC, ESPN, Pixar, Marvel Studios and “Star Wars” producer Lucasfilm, plus an array of theme parks. The Fox assets being acquired include a cable group with FX Networks, National Geographic and 300-plus international channels, plus Fox’s stake in Hulu.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, editing by Louise Heavens