How do we know? Comcast has officially waved the white flag, after the U.S. cable giant announced Thursday that it has now pulled out of the bidding war for 20th Century Fox, ceding those precious assets to Disney, which lodged a $71 billion cash and stock offer late last month. In a statement, Comcast reaffirmed that it will instead shift its focus to British broadcaster Sky, which is 39 percent owned by Fox.
Back in May, the cable company looked to have pipped Disney at the post with an all-cash bid, but today’s withdrawal signals the end of what was undoubtedly one of the biggest corporate duels in modern media history.
Per Comcast CEO Brian Roberts:
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. 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.
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With Comcast ostensibly out of the picture, Disney is poised to gain control of Fox’s film and TV studios, along with a suite of cable networks (FX, for instance) and a 30 percent share of online streaming service, Hulu. All of this is subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, so the Mouse House isn’t home and dry just yet.
Be that as it may, Comcast‘s withdrawal means the pendulum has now swung in Disney’s favor. And this time, it may be for good, as Bob Iger and Co. look to acquire the majority of 21st Century Fox once and for all.