Comcast drops bid for Fox assets, leaving Disney as the media giant’s sole suitor

Comcast said on Monday the idea had abandoned its bid for most of the assets of Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox, leaving Walt Disney as the sole suitor in pursuit of the $40 billion-plus deal.

Sources told Reuters last week which Disney was inside lead to acquire the assets, which include Fox’s FX in addition to National Geographic cable channels, its movie studio, the Star network in India in addition to stake in European pay-TV provider Sky.

The Murdoch family, which controls Fox, prefers a deal with Disney because the idea might rather be paid in Disney stock than Comcast stock, in addition to expects a potential deal with Disney to be cleared by U.S. antitrust regulators more easily, one of the sources said.

Comcast, the biggest cable provider inside United States, said in a statement on Monday which its discussions with Fox had ended.

“When a set of assets like Fox’s becomes available, the idea is actually our responsibility to evaluate if there is actually a strategic fit which could benefit our company in addition to our shareholders,” Comcast said. “which is actually what we tried to do in addition to we are no longer engaged inside review of those assets. We never got the level of engagement needed to make a definitive offer.”

The assets in question might have expanded Comcast’s international footprint through ownership of Sky in addition to Star. A source told Reuters in mid-November which Comcast had approached Fox about its interest, in addition to talks were in early stages.

Disney’s negotiations with Fox are continuing, in addition to a deal could be reached as early as This kind of month, sources close to the situation said on Monday. The persons asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential.

Disney did not immediately respond to request for comment. A Fox representative declined to comment.

Any potential deal will follow the U.S. Department of Justice’s decision last month to sue to block AT&T’s $85.4 billion deal to buy Time Warner.

Comcast shares were up 1.5 percent in after-hours trading, while Disney shares were up 0.2 percent in addition to Fox shares fell 1.3 percent.

(Disclosure: Comcast is actually parent of NBCUniversal in addition to CNBC.)

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