Disney won a bidding war for Twenty-First Century Fox assets on Thursday as Comcast dropped out of the contest to focus on its bid for the British network Sky. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
July 19 (UPI) -- Comcast is bowing out of a bidding war with the Walt Disney Co. to acquire Twenty-First Century Fox assets so it can focus on its bid for the British TV network Sky.
During the last two months, Comcast and Disney went head-to-head for Fox's assets which included the Fox movie and TV studios, a 30 percent stake in the streaming service Hulu and a 39 percent share of Britain-based Sky.
Last month, Comcast topped Disney's original $52.4 billion offer made in December for the Fox assets with a $65 billion all-cash counter offer. Disney then countered the offer with a $70.4 billion bid of cash and stock.
Instead of upping the ante as analysts expected, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts decided to withdraw, he said Thursday.
"I'd like to congratulate (Disney CEO) Bob Iger and the team at Disney and commend the Murdoch family and Fox for creating such a desirable and respected company," Roberts said in a statement.
Roberts said Comcast will instead focus on the company's offer for British broadcaster Sky, which Disney is also trying to buy through Fox.
Last week, Comcast offered $34 billion cash for the network, not even a day after Fox Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch announced his company had outbid an earlier Comcast bid with a $32.5 billion proposal. The rival companies have been competing for Sky since Comcast's original offer in April.
British regulators are concerned Fox owning Sky could give the Murdoch family too much influence over media matters. Philadelphia-based Comcast said it has received regulatory approvals from Britain, the European Commission, Austria, Germany and Italy, and expects the deal to close before October.