Comcast Backs Out of $65B Bid to Buy Fox

This March 29, 2017, photo shows a sign outside the Comcast Center in Philadelphia. Comcast says it’s dropping out of the bidding war for 21st Century Fox’s entertainment business, instead focusing on its bid for Sky. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

MANHATTAN (CN) – Conceding to Disney, media giant Comcast said Thursday it will stop pursuing assets from 21st Century Fox to focus on battling Fox owner Rupert Murdoch in a bidding war for control of European group Sky, another media company in which Murdoch has ownership stakes.

“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,” the company said in a statement Thursday.

Fox intends to sell its assets to the Walt Disney Company in a $71 million merger, which the Department of Justice approved last month.

Comcast, made up of NBCUniversal and Comcast Cable — a video, internet and phone provider — has so far made offers for Sky of $31 billion and $34 billion. Fox owns a 39 percent controlling stake in the company, and is bidding to take it over entirely.

Comcast had upped its counter-offer for Fox in June, to $65 billion.

“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,” said Brian Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast, in a written statement.

Sky owns exclusive rights to broadcast a number of sports, making it desirable in an era of streaming services, when live sports are a draw for cable packages.

Representatives for Sky did not immediately return a request for comment made after UK business hours Thursday.

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