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

Danny Woods
July 19, 2018

Comcast, though, said Thursday that it was still pursuing European pay-TV giant Sky PLC.

Comcast had been fiercely duelling with Disney for Twenty-First Century Fox assets, but on Thursday said that it would not raise its $66 billion USA offer for the company.

"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", said Roberts.

Disney fended off Comcast's $66 billion all-cash challenge to its deal for the Fox assets last month by sweetening its offer to $71 billion in cash-and-stock. Fox already owns 39% of Sky but has been trying to buy the remaining portion of the company.

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One question still pending is who will emerge as a buyer for the regional sports networks owned by Fox, a $20 billion-plus portfolio whose sale is required by the DOJ. Fox shareholders are set to vote on Disney's offer July 27. But now the boardroom battle is over, and as the metaphorical smoke clears, Comcast is walking away and paving the way for a Disney acquisition. The new bid is still an impressive $34 billion for Sky, but it appears that Disney has won the war for franchises like Avatar and X-Men among other entertainment properties. As such, Murdoch's company would still retain its "news" divisions, Fox Sports Network, and FOX Broadcasting (Disney legally can not own the network since it already owns ABC). The company, which merged with Time Warner days after the initial ruling, previously agreed to hold Time Warner's Turner cable networks in a separate business unit during any appeals-court proceedings through next February.

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

Comcast Corp. and Fox have been battling for Fox and Sky in order to amass more programming as they compete for viewers with both traditional TV networks and technology companies such as Netflix and Amazon.

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