The European Union will have set October 19th as their deadline on the Disney's $71.3 billion bid for Fox Photo: File

INTERNATIONAL – EU antitrust regulators have set an October 19 deadline for their ruling on Walt Disney’s $71.3 billion (R1.06 trillion) bid for 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets, the European Commission said on Monday.

Disney sought EU approval for the deal on September 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 US 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 unrivalled 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.