There is only one company left bidding for Fox’s assets as Comcast announced that it had abandoned its bid, leaving only competitor Walt Disney Co as the only suitor in pursuit of the $40 billion-plus deal.
Last week, it was revealed by sources that Disney was leading the race to acquire some assets of Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. as the founder personally favour’s them purchasing assets like National Geographic cable channels, its movie studio, the Star network in India and stake in European pay-TV provider Sky PLC.
Their preference for Disney is because they want to be paid in stocks, with that of Disney more valuable than Comcast stock. The family expects that the deal would be cleared by the U.S. antitrust regulators more easily.
The biggest cable provider in the U.S Comcast stated that its discussion with Fox has come to an end. In their statement, the company added that “When a set of assets like Fox’s becomes available, it is our responsibility to evaluate if there is a strategic fit that could benefit our company and our shareholders. That is what we tried to do, and we are no longer engaged in the review of those assets. We never got the level of engagement needed to make a definitive offer.”
The assets if they had been acquired would have expanded the international footprint of Comcast via the ownership of Sky and Star. Back in November, a source revealed that the company had contacted Fox regarding its interests and talks were initiated.
Negotiations between Fox and Disney are still ongoing, and it is expected that an agreement would be agreed before the end of the month, a source told Reuters on Monday. The source preferred not to be identified due to the confidential nature of the agreement.
Disney didn’t respond immediately to comment request while a representative of Fox declined to make any comment on the issue.
A deal between the two would follow the decision made by the U.S DOJ last month to sue to block the deal between mobile carrier company AT&T and Time Warner in a deal that would worth around $85.4 billion.
After the announcements, the shares of Comcast went up by 1.5% while that of Disney went up by 0.2%, the shares of Fox, on the other hand, fell by 1.3%.