Before it could even fully heat up, the bidding war for most of Fox is now over. Just short of a month after Disney made a counter-bid, Comcast is officially out of the running.
According to Deadline, the media company has dropped out of the bidding war and ceded the prize that is Fox movie, TV and other assets to Disney. In a statement, Comcast said: “Comcast does not intend to pursue further the acquisition of the Twenty-First Century Fox assets and, instead will focus on our recommended offer for Sky.”
The mentioned Sky is a giant European pay-TV service which Comcast recently raised their bid to $34 billion in which to capture a controlling 61% in the service. Fox, who owns 39% already, had bid only $32.5 billion before that.
Last year it had all been seemingly a done deal that Fox would accept a $52.4 billion deal with Disney for their various assets before Comcast swooped in at the beginning of June to drop their own all-cash bid of $65 billion. Less than a week later Disney struck back and upped their bid to $71.3 billion in cash and stocks. That appears to have been too rich for Comcast’s blood as they have now backed off.
“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 Comcast CEO Brian Roberts.
This of course though does not automatically guarantee that Disney will actually gain the various TV and Movie studio parts of Fox that they are seeking. The deal is still subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, but should it move past that this deal would give Disney the 20th Century Fox film and tv studios including major properties and franchises including X-Men, Predator, Alien, Avatar, Deadpool and more along with both FX & FXX networks, National Geographic and a 30% stake in Hulu which combined with Disney’s current 30% would give them a controlling 60% stake in the streaming platform.
The Murdoch family, after gaining shareholder stake in Disney, will focus on their New Fox brand which will keep the Fox broadcast channel (as Disney cannot own to broadcast networks) Fox News, Fox Bussiness and some other stations outside of the ones that Disney will gain. Fox’s regional sports networks are still up for grabs, as ordered by the Department of Justice since Disney already owns the major sports network that is ESPN.