Comcast ends bidding war with Disney for Fox, will focus on Sky

Disney will likely wind up with Fox's media assets including the X Men and Fantastic Four rights

Comcast Lets Disney Win Bidding War for Fox Ryan Scott

But, that bidding war is far less interesting to genre fans.

The withdrawal leaves the path open for Disney to buy the 21st Century Fox assets with its latest offer of $US71 billion.

Disney subsequently sweetened its offer to $71.3bn and recently gained regulatory approval in the United States, with Fox shareholders due to vote on the deal on the 27 July. Here's what Comcast had to say in a statement.

Comcast chairman and CEO Brian L. Roberts on Thursday congratulated Bob Iger and the team at Disney and praised the Murdoch family and Fox for creating such a desirable and respected company. The deal Murdoch tabled last week valued Sky at £14 a share.

The story of Disney, Fox, and Comcast isn't over yet, however.

Fox has made a $32.5 billion USA offer for the portion of Sky it doesn't own, but Disney said in an SEC filing on Friday that it might not raise its bid to compete with Comcast's offer. Instead, they've bowed out gracefully.

This doesn't mean that Comcast isn't looking to expand their own media empire.

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While an acquisition of Britain's Sky, a broadcaster of sports, films and TV shows to 23 million homes across Europe, would significantly diversify Comcast's business overseas, it would do little to give it scale in its core USA market. They now have a $34 billion offer on the table.

After months of dueling with Disney over the majority of 21st Century Fox, Comcast has pulled out of the battle, ceding the prize and ending one of the highest-stakes duels in media history. So Disney and Comcast may yet have to duke it out in that regard down the road.

It is not known if Murdoch, who is now the Executive Co-Chairman at 21st Century Fox, would maintain a role inside the company or if he would take some time off to celebrate being newly Wednesday for the fourth time to supermodel wife Jerry Hall.

"We're extremely pleased with today's news, and our focus now is on completing the regulatory process and ultimately moving toward integrating our businesses". Disney owns Marvel Studios, but some characters including the X-Men had already been licensed to Fox.

For Comcast, a Sky deal would make it the world's largest pay-TV operator - it is already the biggest in the U.S. - and at a stroke reduce its nearly total dependence on the United States for revenues. Can anything stop the House of Mouse from devouring the Fox?

In a drama of outsize media egos, however, reason may not prevail. Having fewer companies in control could provide creators with less options when it comes to producing their work.

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