Comcast backs out of race for Fox assets
Comcast, the US media giant, has dropped out of negotiations to acquire significant parts of 21st Century Fox, the international television and film company.
Comcast was in talks with 21st Century Fox over purchasing some of its assets, including its movie and television studios, international entities like the Star cable and media company in India, its stake in Sky’s UK pay-TV unit, and the Hulu streaming service.
However, the cable company was facing competition from Walt Disney, the entertainment giant that owns cable sports broadcaster ESPN, which was said to be in advanced discussions over a similar deal.
In a statement, Comcast said: “When a set of assets like 21st Century Fox’s becomes available, it’s our responsibility to evaluate if there’s a strategic fit that could benefit our company and our shareholders. That’s 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.”
A deal with Disney has been viewed as more desirable for Fox as it would face fewer regulatory obstacles.
It is expected that a deal with Disney would involve Fox keeping its news and business news divisions, its broadcast stations and Fox Sports. However, it has been mooted that Disney would acquire the company’s regional sports networks.
The proposed agreement is estimated to be worth $60 billion.