Comcast dropping out of Twenty-First Century Fox bidding war

20 July, 2018, 03:56 | Author: Courtney Perry
  • JUSTIN LANE  EPA-EFE  REX  Shutterstock

In June, the British cleared the way for Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox to take full control of pan-European TV giant Sky after Fox agreed to address media plurality concerns.

Immediately before the acquisition by Disney, Fox will separate the Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, its sports channels FS1, FS2 and the Big Ten Network, into a newly-listed company that it will spin off to shareholders. The fight for Fox has calmed down today, though, as Comcast (the parent company of NBC Universal, which owns SYFY WIRE) has announced it is withdrawing its offer.

Comcast had been dueling with Disney for Twenty-First Century Fox, but Comcast said Thursday that it would not raise its $66 billion offer for Fox. Fox and Comcast are now engaged in a bidding war of its own over Sky, the European satellite provider. Though Disney owns Marvel Studios, some characters including the X-Men had already been licensed to Fox.


Fox's current bid for the remaining shares of Sky would add $19.5 billion to Disney's acquisition costs, Greenfield calculates. After we thought the deal was already finished, Comcast came swooping in and kicked the bidding from $52 billion up to $65 billion.

Sky's independent committee has recommended that shareholders accept Comcast's offer, a further blow to Mr Murdoch. Those assets include all of the movie studio 20th Century Fox, National Geographic, FX Networks, Fox's stake in Hulu and, most importantly for Marvel fans, the rights to the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool franchises. That's a 5% premium over Fox's most recent £14.00/share offer to purchase the 61% of shares in Sky that it doesn't already own. AT&T bought Time Warner last month for $81 billion.

Are you excited for Disney to finally acquire Fox? The U.S. Department of Justice last month approved Disney's deal with Fox. 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". That also holds the prospect of boosting the cost of the overall Fox deal to Disney, as it intends to buy up all of Sky if the Murdochs prevail.

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