Comcast ends bidding war with Disney for Fox, will focus on Sky

Lawrence Kim
July 19, 2018

After we thought the deal was already finished, Comcast came swooping in and kicked the bidding from $52 billion up to $65 billion.

Comcast said Thursday it will not pursue its bid for 21st Century Fox assets, opting to focus on its recommended offer for Britain's pay-TV Sky.

In a statement, Comcast CEO Brian L. Roberts said, "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".

Comcast and Disney had squared off over Rupert Murdoch's entertainment empire since June, marking the latest round of media consolidation under the Trump administration. Despite the clearance, satellite pay-TV group Sky could still end up being bought by Comcast or Disney amid a United States media industry tug-of-war.

The concession gives Disney, subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, control of Fox's film and TV studio, a suite of cable networks including FX and National Geographic and an additional 30% of Hulu.

After months of dueling with Disney over the majority of 21st Century Fox, Comcast has pulled out of the battle, ceding the prize and ending one of the highest-stakes duels in media history.

Sky's share price fell 2% following Comcast's news, indicating investor fears that Murdoch might not now return with an improved bid.

Be that as it may, Comcast's withdrawal means the pendulum has now swung in Disney's favor. Those would be spun off into a new company, and Disney would acquire 21st Century Fox after the spinoff.

The US department of justice's decision to appeal a court ruling on its attempt to stop AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner cast doubt on whether Comcast would be able to gain approval for any deal for Fox.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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