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Comcast Backs Out Of Bidding War Over 21st Century Fox To Pursue U.K. TV Provider Sky

Comcast formally withdraws its pursuit of 21st Century Fox, naming Disney as the winner as the cable giant turns its full attention to acquiring Sky.

A week shy of the expected 21 Century Fox shareholder vote over its impending sale, Comcast said Thursday it will no longer pursue an acquisition of Fox's entertainment arm.

The cable giant instead plans to turn its full attention to buying British media and TV provider Sky.

"I’d like to congratulate [Disney CEO] Bob Iger and the team at Disney and commend the Murdoch family and Fox for creating such a desirable and respected company," Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement.

[Related: 21st Century Fox Ups Offer For Sky In Bidding War With Comcast]

Disney in June secured approval for its proposed acquisition of 21st Century Fox from the U.S. Justice Department.

However, Comcast is currently embroiled in another bidding war over Sky with the very same 21st Century Fox, which upped its own offer for Sky earlier this month by more than 30 percent, valuing Sky at $32.5 billion. Sky is 39 percent owned by Fox.

Comcast has since raised its own bid for Sky to $34 billion.

Should Comcast succeed in its proposed acquisition of Sky, Disney would no longer have Europe's major direct-to-consumer platform, which Disney's Iger has referred to as the "crown jewel" of the Fox assets.

Disney offered to acquire 21st Century Fox in December 2017 and was later beat out by a bid from Comcast with an all-cash offer of $65 billion. Disney in July countered with a $71.3 billion cash and stock offer for most of Fox's content assets in deal that was expected to be voted on by shareholders on July 27.

Fox's entertainment business unit includes a valuable movie studio and TV assets, as well as part ownership of streaming content service provider Hulu.

Comcast is expected to report its second-quarter 2018 earnings on July 26.

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