Comcast drops bid for Fox assets, leaving Disney in pole position

Courtesy of Fox Searchlight

In talks with 21st Century Fox, who are considering selling their film and television divisions, there's apparently a deal on the table worth around $60 billion, and an official announcement looks set to arrive this week.

The formal declaration now appears to reaffirm Disney's pole position to complete the multibillion-dollar purchase after repeated reports that a deal was close and could be closed this week.

U.S. media giant Comcast has dropped out of the running to buy 21st Century Fox, leaving Disney as the main contender, according to reports.

Comcast is the US's largest cable TV provider, and owns broadcast network NBC and its production assets, plus cable networks such as USA Network and Bravo. That is what we tried to do and we are no longer engaged in the review of those assets.

A potential deal would revolve around the future of 21st Century Fox's cablenets, including FX, its global operations, such as European pay operator Sky and Star in India, and its film studio operations.

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The Murdoch family, which controls Fox, prefers a deal with Disney because it would rather be paid in Disney stock than Comcast stock, and expects a potential deal with Disney to be cleared by USA antitrust regulators more easily, one of the sources said.

NBCUniversal owner Comcast was one of a few companies with the scale to buy the available Fox assets, but has confirmed it is not moving forwards with a bid.

Therefore, even if it will take more than a year to fully comply with the regulatory requirements, Disney's acquisition of Fox would make the two firms to stay apart until the requirements are duly met.

Disney first approached Rupert Murdoch several weeks ago to propose buying Fox's television and movie studio, 22 regional sports networks, a stake in Hulu and global television assets, but talks stalled.

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