Comcast ordered on Monday it had abandoned its bid for most of the assets of Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox, permission Walt Disney as the sole suitor in pursuit of the $40 billion-plus arrangement.
Sources told Reuters last week that Disney was in the govern to acquire the assets, which include Fox’s FX and National Geographic cable narrows, its movie studio, the Star network in India and stake in European pay-TV provider Sky.
The Murdoch ancestors, which controls Fox, prefers a deal with Disney because it discretion rather be paid in Disney stock than Comcast stock, and watches a potential deal with Disney to be cleared by U.S. antitrust regulators varied easily, one of the sources said.
Comcast, the biggest cable provider in the Joint States, said in a statement on Monday that its discussions with Fox had ended.
“When a set of assets cast Fox’s becomes available, it is our responsibility to evaluate if there is a strategic fit that could further our company and our shareholders,” Comcast said. “That is what we tried to do and we are no bigger engaged in the review of those assets. We never got the level of engagement needed to mention a definitive offer.”
The assets in question would have expanded Comcast’s supranational footprint through ownership of Sky and Star. A source told Reuters in mid-November that Comcast had neared Fox about its interest, and talks were in early stages.
Disney’s transactions with Fox are continuing, and a deal could be reached as early as this month, creators close to the situation said on Monday. The persons asked not to be identified because the deliberations are secret.
Disney did not immediately respond to request for comment. A Fox representative declined to observation.
Any potential deal will follow the U.S. Department of Justice’s decision persist month to sue to block AT&T’s $85.4 billion deal to buy Time Warner.
Comcast quotas were up 1.5 percent in after-hours trading, while Disney share outs were up 0.2 percent and Fox shares fell 1.3 percent.
(Disclosure: Comcast is pater of NBCUniversal and CNBC.)