Comcast Concedes to Disney in Fox Bid

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The complicated takeover situation between Disney, Fox and Comcast became clearer earlier, when Comcast abandoned its pursuit of 21st Century Fox's film and television assets.

It turns out, $71 billion was just a tad too rich for the media conglomerate.

The cable operator will now focus on the $34 billion offer to acquire 61 percent of Sky.

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Comcast's move de-escalates one of the media industry's most high-profile confrontations, which pitted Comcast Chief Executive Brian Roberts against Fox Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch and Disney CEO Bob Iger. The agreement between the two companies states that Murdoch pays up to £13 a share, Disney for each £1 a share above that.

Comcast also faced a potentially hostile Justice Department over an antitrust regulatory review of a Comcast/Fox deal.

"Our incredible enthusiasm for this acquisition and the value it will create has continued to grow as we've come to know 21st Century Fox's stellar array of talent and assets". That stance is all the more notable given his continued efforts to kill on antitrust grounds the AT&T acquisition of Time Warner, a combination of a telecoms giant and an entertainment powerhouse that have little overlapping commerce.

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"Our view is that probably there is less chance of Fox/Disney coming back with an increased offer for Sky given that Comcast would have more available firepower", said Liberum analyst Ian Whittaker. The idea was to sell Sky to Disney as part of the broader deal. "I don't think Disney wants to give up Sky", said Crispin Odey, whose eponymous hedge fund owns Sky shares.

It has been an epic clash of media titans worthy of a blockbuster movie itself like, say, the X-Men - notably a property of 21st Century Fox. CBS Corp CBS.N and Viacom Inc VIAB.O , for example, are tightly controlled by the Redstone family.

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

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Under his resign Disney acquired Pixar for $7.4 billion in 2006; Marvel for $4 billion in 2009, Lucasfilm Ltd for $4 million in 2013 and even managed to regain the rights to the very first character ever illustrated by the company's namesake founder.

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