Comcast Drops Bid for Fox, Ceding to Disney

Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) has dropped its bid for Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. (FOX), effectively ending a bidding war with Walt Disney Co. (DIS).

In an increasingly competitive media landscape, Comcast was vying for Fox’s movie studio and television assets with franchises like Avatar and X-Men, having most recently bid $65 billion in an all-cash offer. However, Disney upped its own bid to $71 billion with a cash-and-stock deal for the assets, which also include cable channels like National Geographic and FX, as well as Fox’s sports networks.

“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 said in a statement.

Comcast CEO Brian L. Roberts also issued a statement: “I’d like to congratulate [Disney CEO] Bob Iger and the team at Disney and commend the Murdoch family and Fox for creating such a desirable and respected company."

Shares of Twenty-First Century Fox were down more than 1% in pre-market trade on the news. Comcast shares were up 2.8%, and Disney shares were up about 1%.

Comcast’s Bid for Sky

Comcast has most recently bid $34 billion for Sky Plc and faces competition from Disney for these assets as well. Comcast’s cash offer was recommended by Sky’s Independent Committee of Directors and has already secured regulatory approval. (See also: Comcast Raises Its Offer for Sky to $34 Billion.)