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Comcast drops bid for 21st Century Fox assets, cedes prize to Disney

Comcast will now shift its focus towards sealing the Sky deal.

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MUMBAI: The fierce bidding war between Comcast and Disney has finally ended with the former dropping out of the race to gobble up the prized 21st Century Fox assets. Comcast will now shift its focus towards sealing the Sky deal.

"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 company said in a statement.

"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 Corporation chairman and CEO Brian L. Roberts said.

Last month, the US cable giant made a $65.0 billion offer for the Fox assets, trumping Disney's original $52.4 billion bid. However, Disney went on to make a counter-offer of $71.3 billion in cash and stock.

Disney has already sought clearance from US department of justice to go ahead of the deal that includes the Twentieth Century Fox film and TV studio, a controlling stake in Hulu, and international properties including Star India.

The Comcast-Disney tussle will go down as one of the most keenly contested battles in the media and entertainment.

With traditional power players facing challenges from new streaming services and FAANG companies, Fox’s entertainment assets are bound to help Disney prop up its upcoming streaming service as more and more consumers cut chords every day, especially in US.

Recently, following the $32.5 billion offer from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, Comcast also increased its offer valuing Sky at $34 billion. The European Pay TV group is a lucrative option for Comcast to stay relevant outside US.

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