Comcast Won't Make Another Bid Against Disney For Fox

Emmett Rice
July 20, 2018

Comcast on Thursday said it would drop its bid to buy key portions of 21st Century Fox, ending a bidding war between the Philadelphia-based cable giant and the network's likely new owner, The Walt Disney Company.

Shares of Comcast were up 2.2 percent in premarket trade, while Fox fell 1 percent. On CNBC, Disney's Iger said he was "extremely pleased with today's news". Those would be spun off into a new company, and Disney would acquire 21st Century Fox after the spinoff. As it happens, Fox is also in talks to purchase a bit of Sky before the Disney deal is finished, so the drama isn't completely over with. Comcast made its bid of $65 billion in June, aiming to capitalize on what was seen as an easier regulatory path after AT&T successfully defended an antitrust challenge to its acquisition of media-entertainment group Time Warner. Though Disney owns Marvel Studios, some characters including the X-Men had already been licensed to Fox.

Comcast, however, became an alternative suitor in December, but Murdoch was wary, at least partially due to the regulatory hurdles that deal might face.

Last week Comcast boosted its offer for European pay TV service Sky to $34 billion US.

The Fox sale does not include major assets such as the Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, and Fox Broadcasting Company. The Fox assets being acquired include a cable group with FX Networks, National Geographic and 300-plus worldwide channels, plus Fox's stake in Hulu.

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While an acquisition of Britain's Sky, a broadcaster of sports, films and TV shows to 23 million homes across Europe, would significantly diversify Comcast's business overseas, it would do little to give it scale in its core USA market.

Comcast didn't have further comment beyond the release, but said that it's the high bidder and has posted its offer document.

This doesn't mean that Comcast isn't looking to expand their own media empire. CBS Corp CBS.N and Viacom Inc VIAB.O , for example, are tightly controlled by the Redstone family.

Comcast announced that it would drop out of the bidding war for assets now owned by 21st Century Fox, paving the way for Disney to complete the Hollywood-shaking merger. The Justice Department had argued that the deal would reduce competition and raise prices, and last week moved to appeal the decision to clear the merger.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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