Comcast drops out of the $71 billion bidding war for 21st Century Fox assets, handing Disney victory

Brian Roberts, the CEO of Comcast.

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Brian Roberts, the CEO of Comcast.
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Drew Angerer/Getty Images

  • Comcast announced on Thursday that it was no longer pursuing its bid to buy some of 21st Century Fox’s assets.
  • This ended a bidding war it had entered with Disney for the assets, which exclude the Fox News and Fox Business channels.
  • Comcast said it would now focus on its bidding war with Fox for the British broadcaster Sky. Read more about that battle here.

Comcast said Thursday that it no longer intended to pursue its acquisition of some 21st Century Fox assets, handing Disney a victory in the two conglomerates’ bidding war.

The cable provider said it would instead focus on its fight with Fox for the British broadcaster Sky.

Comcast had entered a bidding war with Disney for some of 21st Century Fox’s assets excluding the Fox News and Fox Business channels. On June 20, Disney raised its offer for the assets to $38 a share, or a total of $71.3 billion in cash and stock.

“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,” Brian Roberts, Comcast’s CEO, said in a statement.

Comcast originally held back on bidding for Fox’s production assets until a federal judge approved AT&T’s so-called vertical merger with Time Warner. A Comcast-Fox merger, like a Disney-Fox merger, would have been similarly vertical by combining a distributor with a content producer.

The Justice Department last week moved to appeal the decision to clear the $85 billion merger between AT&T and Time Warner. It had argued that the deal would reduce competition and raise prices.

Comcast’s most recent offer for Sky values the broadcaster at £26 billion, or $34 billion, up from its previous offer of £22 billion. 21st Century Fox had bid £14 a share for Sky.

Comcast shares gained nearly 3% in premarket trading, while Disney’s rose 1.2%.