Comcast Corporation has publicly ceased its pursuit of Twenty-First Century Fox's media assets up for sale, seemingly clearing the way for the Walt Disney Company's acquisition plans.
"We're extremely pleased with today's news, and our focus now is on completing the regulatory process and ultimately moving toward integrating our businesses". 21st Century Fox and the Murdochs own a controlling 39 percent of Sky. If Fox is successful, then Disney will end up owning all of Sky. This comes after they placed a $65 million bid to compete with Disney, who later won the war with a bid of $71.4 billion.
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This opens up so many possibilities for Disney, but most fans are very excited at the idea of Fox's Marvel characters crossing over into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Comcast also faced a potentially hostile Justice Department over an antitrust regulatory review of a Comcast/Fox deal. The Fox assets being acquired include a cable group with FX Networks, National Geographic and 300-plus global channels, plus Fox's stake in Hulu.
Last week Comcast boosted its offer for European pay TV service Sky to $34 billion after Twenty-First Century Fox increased its bid to $32.5 billion. Similarly, Disney's ownership of ESPN precluded the purchase of Fox's sports holdings, which include two national channels and many popular regional sports channels.
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Comcast didn't have further comment beyond the release, but said that it's the high bidder and has posted its offer document.
For Fox shareholders, they may enjoy seeing Comcast try, but for Fox employees...
Nevertheless, Sky shares ended trading at 15.09 pounds on Thursday, above Comcast's 14.75-pound-per-share offer, as investors continued to bet on a better deal. Lions Gate Entertainment Corp LGFa.N rose 5.2 percent on investor speculation it could become an acquisition target.
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The Fox/Disney deal will give Disney a controlling stake in Hulu as well as 21st Century Fox's film and television studios, cable entertainment networks, and global properties including Star in India and Fox's 39-percent ownership of Sky. The Justice Department had argued that the deal would reduce competition and raise prices, and last week moved to appeal the decision to clear the merger.