One of the most costly bidding wars in the history of media is officially over. Comcast has announced that they are no longer going to pursue Fox, meaning that Disney's current bid is going to stick and, assuming Disney gains the remaining approvals they need, the sale will be a done deal. There are still a lot of moving pieces in place, but Disney's only real competition for Fox's media assets has taken themselves out of the running. Here's what Comcast had to say in a statement.
"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."
Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts congratulated Disney saying, "I'd like to congratulate [chairman and CEO] Bob Iger and the team at Disney and commend the Murdoch family and Fox for creating such a desirable and respected company." Disney had agreed to a deal with 21st Century Fox to purchase the majority of the company's assets back in December. The deal, at the time, was valued at $52.4 billion, all in stock. Months later, Comcast came in and offered Fox $65 billion, all in cash, for those same assets. Disney countered with $71.3 billion, a mix of stock and cash and the media world has been waiting to see if Comcast would counter that offer. Instead, they've bowed out gracefully.
This doesn't mean that Comcast isn't looking to expand their own media empire. The company is still looking to purchase international broadcaster Sky. They currently have a $34 billion offer on the table. Fox does own 39 percent of the broadcaster, but Comcast would own a majority share should their bid be accepted. So Disney and Comcast may yet have to duke it out in that regard down the road. Disney CEO Bob Iger had this to say in a statement regarding Comcast's decision to no longer pursue Fox.
"Our incredible enthusiasm for this acquisition and the value it will create has continued to grow as we've come to know 21st Century Fox's stellar array of talent and assets. We're extremely pleased with today's news, and our focus now is on completing the regulatory process and ultimately moving toward integrating our businesses."
Disney recently received regulatory approval to purchase Fox's assets. Those assets include all of the movie studio 20th Century Fox, National Geographic, FX Networks, Fox's stake in Hulu and, most importantly for Marvel fans, the rights to the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool franchises. Regulatory approval was a big hurdle, but there are still many hurdles to clear before this is a done deal. Still, it's looking very good for the Mouse House at this point.
AT&T's merger with Time Warner was recently approved and that has paved the way for a company like Disney to purchase Fox. Ultimately, this will result in a massive consolidation of media which, though exciting for some reasons, also could come with some major changes, not necessarily for the better. Having fewer companies in control could provide creators with less options when it comes to producing their work. But this is the wave of the future, apparently. This news comes to us courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter.