Comcast Pulls Bid for 21st Century Fox, Paves Way For Disney Takeover

Disney 21st Century Fox

Disney Fox

Comcast has dropped its efforts to buy much of 21st Century Fox, ending a bidding war with The Walt Disney Company over the company's entertainment assets. "I'd like to congratulate Bob Iger and the team at Disney and commend the Murdoch family and Fox for creating such a desirable and respected company". It stormed back into the fray with one final charge, topping Disney's initial offer for 21st Century Fox's media assets in the hopes of adding them to its own empire, which already includes companies like NBC and Universal.

21st Century Fox is the parent company of FOX Business.

It has been an epic clash of media titans worthy of a blockbuster movie itself like, say, the X-Men - notably a property of 21st Century Fox. If Fox wins, it will likely mean Disney will have to increase what it's paying for Fox anyway as the total value of the company will have increased.

With Comcast ostensibly out of the picture, Disney is poised to gain control of Fox's film and TV studios, along with a suite of cable networks (FX, for instance) and a 30 percent share of online streaming service, Hulu.

The Fox/Disney deal will give Disney a controlling stake in Hulu as well as 21st Century Fox's film and television studios, cable entertainment networks, and worldwide properties including Star in India and Fox's 39-percent ownership of Sky.

It's worth noting that Fox initially preferred Disney over Comcast anyway in the battle for its assets. The DOJ's approval of the Fox/Disney deal requires Disney to divest Fox-owned regional sports networks. Fox will maintain control of the main Fox broadcasting network, along with Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 and the Fox News cable network.

Comcast also faced a potentially hostile Justice Department over an antitrust regulatory review of a Comcast/Fox deal.

But settling for Sky represents a comedown for Comcast, which is looking for ways to grow and compete with Netflix.

Under UK takeover rules, Murdoch has until the 8 August to submit a new bid for Sky. And asked Thursday morning if the Comcast announcement in any way diminished Fox's appetite for Sky, a Murdoch spokesman emailed to NPR a one-word response: "Nope".

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