Fox said it will not buy sports networks from Disney as part of a merger.

Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.  (FOXA) said it has ended any plans to bid for its old regional sports programming owned by Walt Disney Co. (DIS - Get Report) . 

"FOX confirms that it does not intend to bid for any of the Fox regional sports networks that Disney (or any entity operating on its behalf) may sell as required by the consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice," said the media giant in filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday.

Disney, which is buying film and TV assets from Fox, will have to sell some of its Fox regional sports networks to get the U.S. Justice Department's blessing for the merger -- a deal reportedly worth about $71 billion.

It was earlier believed that Fox might consider buying back that sports programming, which it previously owned.  

Over the summer, Fox's shareholders approved a plan to merge with Disney -- the main owner of ESPN -- and some of its subsidiaries.

As Disney would buy Twenty-First Century Fox, a new company called "Fox" would be spun off that includes news, business and sports programming. Also created would be a new Disney holding company that would become the parent of both Disney and Twenty-First Century Fox.

"Combining the 21CF businesses with Disney and establishing new 'Fox' will unlock significant value for our shareholders," said Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of Twenty-First Century Fox, at the time. 

But at the same time Department of Justice entered a consent decree with Disney and Twenty-First Century Fox, allowing the deal to move forward, but requiring the sale of Fox Sports Regional Networks.

Both Fox and Disney were trading slightly lower on the news. Neither Fox nor Disney spokespersons returned calls about the plan.

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