Comcast Drops Out Of Fox Bidding, Ceding Prize To Disney

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Comcast has pulled its bid to purchase 21st Century Fox, allowing Disney to move forward with the goal of bringing the movie rights to X-Men and the Fantastic Four over to Marvel Studios. At the same time, the two media giants have been aiming to take control of Sky, the British-based pay-T.V. operator in which Fox holds a 39 percent stake. The withdrawal leaves the path open for The Walt Disney Co.to buy the Twenty-First Century Fox assets with its $71 billion offer.

The central battle for 21st Century Fox assets ended on Thursday when Comcast dropped its bid, ceding the prize to Walt Disney. Months later, Comcast came in and offered Fox $65 billion, all in cash, for those same assets.

Last week, in a day of bid and counterbid, Comcast tabled a £26bn offer to buy Sky, trumping Murdoch within hours of the media mogul making a new £24.5bn offer.

The US cable giant said that it would now concentrate on attempting to buy the United Kingdom pay-TV broadcaster Sky instead.

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"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". Disney shares were up 1.6 percent.

Disney subsequently sweetened its offer to $71.3bn and recently gained regulatory approval in the U.S., with Fox shareholders due to vote on the deal on the 27 July. As such, Murdoch's company would still retain its "news" divisions, Fox Sports Network, and FOX Broadcasting (Disney legally can not own the network since it already owns ABC). But now the boardroom battle is over, and as the metaphorical smoke clears, Comcast is walking away and paving the way for a Disney acquisition.

The Fox sale does not include major assets such as the Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, and Fox Broadcasting Company. The company is still looking to purchase global broadcaster Sky. Lions Gate Entertainment Corp LGFa.N rose 5.2 percent on investor speculation it could become an acquisition target.

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