Disney has won the war for 21st Century Fox assets as rival Comcast Corporation announced the withdrawal of its $65 billion bid. However, the battle for acquisition of broadcast assets and properties is far from over between Disney and Comcast. The latter has confirmed that it will not give up its bid for the British broadcaster Sky. Disney is also working on the Sky assets acquisition through Fox.
Comcast had on Thursday declared that it was withdrawing its $65 billion bid for the 21st Century Fox assets. Comsat’s withdrawal has cleared the decks for the 21st Century Fox acquisition by Disney for their last revised bid of $71 billion.
Comcast will now focus its energies on acquiring Sky, for which it has already made an offer of $34 billion.
Comsat has issued an official statement to withdraw its bid for 21st Century Fox. “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.”
“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,” Comsat Corporation Chairman and CEO Brian L. Roberts has stated.
Disney had first announced a bid of $52.4 billion in December 2017 for the 21st Century Fox assets. Comcast had superseded the Disney offer with the $65 billion all-cash offer, which Disney had countered by raising their bid to $71.3 billion, which finally has ensured that Rupert Murdoch’s media empire will now go to the Disney network.
However, the Murdochs will continue to hold onto their broadcast, news and national sports programming, including Fox News, Fox Business and Fox Sports under the new company – New Fox, to be headed by Lachlan Murdoch.
The successful Fox bid had made Disney the most formidable content portfolio company in the broadcast business.
Now Disney and Comsat will switch their engagement for the Sky assets acquisition. Sky has a direct-to-consumer relationship with 23 million paying subscribers across five European countries, making it a key part of the overall Fox acquisition. Walt Disney Company chairman and CEO Bob Iger has already described it as a “crown jewel” of the Fox assets. Iger has thus dropped a hint that he will not cede the direct-to-consumer market in Europe.