On Thursday, Comcast announced that it was dropping its attempt to acquire assets of 21st Century Fox that it was in a bidding battle over with Disney.
Comcast’s last bid was for $65 billion to acquire Fox’s movie studio that has movie franchises such as X-Men and Avatar, as well as Fox’s many regional cable channels and sports networks such as National Geographic and FX. Disney’s last bid was $71 billion for the same.
The battle Comcast has with Disney is not over quite yet, as Comcast said it would continue pursuing the bid it made to acquire Sky, the British broadcaster, which Disney has attempted to acquire through Fox. Comcast has bid $34 billion for Sky.
A takeover by Comcast of Sky would keep Fox and Disney from having a major platform direct-to-consumer in Europe that Disney has described as Fox assets’ crown jewel.
During the bidding that has taken place, 21st Century Fox’s stock value surged by over 36% as Disney, followed by Comcast, then Disney again, bid to gain the right so the majority of Rupert Murdoch’s vast media empire.
The Murdoch family will kept their broadcast, news as well as sports programming, including Fox News, Fox Sports and Fox Business. The new entity, which will be called New Fox, will have Lachlan Murdoch as its chief.
Brian Roberts through a prepared statement said he wanted to congratulate Bob Iger and Disney and commend Fox and the Murdoch family for making such a respected and desirable company.
Bidding became intense between Roberts and Iger and has been one that has been closely followed amongst executives in Hollywood, due to the size of the acquisition and the well-known dislike the two men have for one another.
By coming out the winner of the bidding for Fox, Disney now will have arguably a content portfolio more formidable than any other in Hollywood, which will add to an impressive existing stable that includes LucasFilm, Pixar and Marvel.
However, Sky remains a separate piece of the bidding puzzle. One of the top priorities of Disney is to build relationships worldwide that are direct-to-consumer, so it is able to compete with companies such as Amazon and Netflix. Sky has a relationship of direct to consumer with 23 million subscribers in five countries across Europe making it making it an integral part of the overall acquisition of Fox.