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Disney wins bidding battle for 21st Century Fox against Comcast

20-July-2018
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Disney wins bidding battle for 21st Century Fox against Comcast

Disney has won the bid for 21st Century Fox, acquiring assets including Fox’s movie studio, regional sports networks and cable channels. This follows a bidding battle between Disney and Comcast which saw Comcast withdrawing their bid of $65 billion. Disney’s most recent bid was $71 billion. During the bidding tug-of-war, Fox’s value jumped 36 per cent. By acquiring 21st Century Fox, Disney will perhaps have the most powerful content portfolio in Hollywood, adding to an already impressive assemblage which includes Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm.

The clash between Comcast and Disney is still not over as Comcast is set to step up its pursuit of the British broadcaster Sky, which Disney is also trying to acquire through Fox. Comcast has bid $34 billion for Sky and its acquisition of the company would deprive Fox and consequently Disney, of a key direct-to-consumer platform in Europe which Disney CEO Bob Iger described as a "crown jewel" of the Fox assets.

Having Sky in their portfolio would also allow Disney to compete with rivals such as Amazon and Netflix since Sky has a direct-to-consumer relationship with 23 million paying subscribers across 5 European countries. If Sky were to be acquired by Comcast, the company (Comcast) would have control over the world’s largest pay-TV provider.

Currently, the Murdochs still hold a majority of the broadcast, news and national sports programming, including Fox News, Fox Business and Fox Sports and the new company, known as "New Fox," will be led by Lachlan Murdoch.

In a statement, Comcast Chief Brian Roberts said, "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".

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