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.