The Walt Disney Company has received the federal government’s permission to proceed with its planned $1.58 billion deal to acquire a majority stake in BAMTech.
The OK came in the form of an early termination notice from the Federal Trade Commission, spotted by Broadcasting & Cable, that officially closes out the Hart Scott Rodino antitrust review of the deal.
In August, Disney announced that it would shell out $1.58 billion for another 42% of BAMTech, of which Disney already owned 33% following a 2016 transaction.
“The media landscape is increasingly defined by direct relationships between content creators and consumers, and our control of BAMTech’s full array of innovative technology will give us the power to forge those connections, along with the flexibility to quickly adapt to shifts in the market,” said Disney Chairman and CEO Robert Iger in a statement. “This acquisition and the launch of our direct-to-consumer services mark an entirely new growth strategy for the Company, one that takes advantage of the incredible opportunity that changing technology provides us to leverage the strength of our great brands.”
BAMTech will serve as the backbone and framework for Disney’s long-planned ESPN direct-to-consumer streaming product that is set to launch in 2018. The service will house 10,000 live regional, national and international games and events per year from leagues including Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, Grand Slam tennis and college sports.
Disney has yet to announce pricing for the service.
At the same time Disney offered up more details about the ESPN streaming service, the company also unveiled plans to launch a branded Disney streaming service that will offer Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars films, along with original, exclusive movies and series.