Published on July 19th, 2018 | by Brad Gibson0
Disney wins 21st Century Fox buyout as Comcast blinks
The Walt Disney Co. has prevailed in the bidding war for much of Rupert Murdoch’s empire after Comcast Corp. acknowledged Thursday that it was dropping out of its battle for 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets and will instead focus on its bid for European pay-TV satellite service Sky.
“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 Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement. “Comcast…will focus on our recommended offer for Sky.”
Comcast’s pursuit of the Fox assets became too expensive. Comcast would have had to offer more than $80 billion to stay competitive with Disney’s sweetened $71-billion bid. What’s more, each additional offer for Fox also raised the price of the Sky television service because Fox owns 39 percent of Sky.
By Comcast abandoning it’s buying of Fox it can now go after purchasing Sky, which industry watchers believe is the real asset they are interested in.
The announcement hands a key victory to Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger, who has agreed to spend $71 billion for the Fox assets, which include the company’s television and movie studios, cable channels FX and National Geographic and international properties in India and Latin America.
By winning the war for Fox, Disney will now have arguably the most formidable content portfolio in all of Hollywood, adding to its collection of media assets that include Marvel, Pixar and LucasFilm. The buyout will also put Disney in a better position to compete with the likes of Netflix, Google, Facebook and Amazon.com.
The Justice Department has already approved the sales as long as Disney sells Fox’s 22 regional sports networks. Disney has agreed to sell those networks. Fox shareholders are set to vote on Disney’s sweetened offer on July 27.