Disney wins bidding war for Fox; Comcast drops to focus on Sky

Friday, 20 Jul, 2018

Disney had agreed to a deal with 21st Century Fox to purchase the majority of the company's assets back in December. They are set to pay $52 billion for Fox and all of the assets that come with it, with the big exception of Fox News, Fox's broadcast networks, and its sports channels.

Negotiations between Disney and Fox began in late 2017, but hit a snag when Comcast unexpectedly beat Disney's offer. We'll see if Disney counters.

Comcast dropped its bid for the Fox assets because of concerns about price, divestitures it might be required to make to complete the deal and the impact on the value of its bid for Sky, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

However, the battle between Disney and Comcast might not be over quite yet.

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. The new bid is still an impressive $34 billion for Sky, but it appears that Disney has won the war for franchises like Avatar and X-Men among other entertainment properties.

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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. Comcast has apparently decided the fight over Sky is more important than the fight over Fox, so the cable giant, that also owns NBC and Universal, will be looking to spend its money there.

Are you excited for Disney to finally acquire Fox? Well, Murdoch is one of the major shareholders of Sky as well, so read into that what you will.

Now the question becomes whether Fox will choose to split its assets between the two rival bids, especially with many considering Sky a "crown jewel" of the Fox assets.

"Sky does have an impressive collection of proprietary affiliate deals, Premier League Football is only the most notable", Moffett writes. Increasing the offer by £1 would add $1.5 billion of extra debt, and $60 million in annual interest costs, Disney has said.