×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Disney Nearing Finish Line With 21st Century Fox as Comcast Bows Out of Acquisition Hunt

Disney has such an inside track on reaching a $60 billion-plus deal to acquire key entertainment and sports assets from 21st Century Fox that Comcast has formally exited the chase.

Comcast said Monday it was “no longer” looking at Fox’s film and TV studio and other assets as acquisition targets. The cable giant had yet to comment on its interest in Fox prior to Monday’s statement. But with Hollywood abuzz of a Disney-Fox deal coming down within the next few days, Comcast made a point of getting the first word in on its effort.

“When a set of assets like 21st Century Fox’s becomes available, it’s our responsibility to evaluate if there’s a strategic fit that could benefit our company and our shareholders,” Comcast said in a statement. “That’s what we tried to do and we are no longer engaged in the review of those assets. We never got the level of engagement needed to make a definitive offer. We have a terrific company with a strong portfolio of businesses and will continue to focus on driving growth, innovating, creating great content, and providing excellent experiences for our customers.”

The Disney-Fox deal, sparked by Disney CEO Bob Iger’s outreach to 21st Century Fox, has been brewing for more than two months. It comes as a sign that even sizable industry players like 21st Century Fox are feeling the squeeze of marketplace shifts and the growing threat in the content arena from deep-pocketed tech giants like Amazon, Apple, and Facebook.

The notion of the Murdochs as sellers has shocked the industry, but it’s seen as a calculation that now is the hour to command the highest value for the assets in question. The timing is ripe because Disney needs the content production operations and the vast film and TV library that Fox brings to the table to fuel its plans for launching a Netflix-esque streaming venture by 2019.

Analysts are pegging the all-stock deal at an enterprise value of around $70 billion-$74 billion.

The formal announcement of a deal could come as early as this week but is not expected to be ready for unveiling by Tuesday. On Monday, Disney shares were up 2.5% at the close of trading to $106.83. Fox was up just 30 cents, or 1%, to $33.27.

(Pictured: Rupert Murdoch and Bob Iger)

More Film

  • CAA Owner TPG Buying Payroll Specialist

    CAA Owner TPG Buying Payroll Specialist Entertainment Partners

    TPG Capital, the massive private equity firm that owns Creative Artists Agency, is buying payroll specialist Entertainment Partners for an undisclosed price. Entertainment Partners’ management team, led by president and CEO Mark Goldstein, will continue in their roles. The agreement was announced Tuesday with plans to close the deal during the second quarter. “We’re thrilled [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Agents Accuse Writers Guild of Threatening to Throw 'Industry Into Chaos'

    UPDATE – The dealmakers appear to be getting nowhere. Negotiators for Hollywood agents and the Writers Guild of America have achieved little progress at their seventh session on Tuesday, with a chaotic scenario looming on April 7. “When Guild leadership is ready to move on from their declared threatening phase, we stand ready to work [...]

  • Zoe Lister-Jones The Craft

    'The Craft' Remake Finds Director in Zoe-Lister Jones

    “Life in Pieces” star Zoe Lister-Jones will write and direct Sony Pictures’ remake of “The Craft” for Blumhouse and Red Wagon Entertainment. Doug Wick, the producer of the original “The Craft,” will return in the same capacity along with partner Lucy Fisher through their Red Wagon banner. Jason Blum is also producing and his Blumhouse [...]

  • Carol Burnett

    Carol Burnett's Mother-Daughter Story 'Carrie and Me' in Development as a Movie

    Carol Burnett’s bestseller “Carrie and Me: A Mother-Daughter Love Story” is in the works as a movie at Focus Features with Burnett, Tina Fey, Eric Gurian, and Steven Rogers producing. Burnett will produce through her Mabel Cat Productions with Fey and Gurian under their production banner Little Stranger along with Rogers (“I, Tonya”). The sibling [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Writers Guild Plans for Agency Pact Expiration: 'There Will Be Difficult Moments'

    Leaders of the Writers Guild of America have sent members contingency plans for the possible expiration of its agency franchise agreement on April 7 — and admitted that it may be a rocky road. Members received the letter Tuesday from the guild’s negotiating committee as the WGA and agents were about the hold their seventh [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Entertainment One, Universal to Partner on Home Entertainment

    Entertainment One and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment have signed a multi-year, multi-territory distribution agreement. UPHE will serve as the home entertainment distributor of eOne’s offerings across both physical and digital formats. The pact covers film, television, and select family content and includes all sales, marketing, and distribution, spanning the U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, Spain, Australia, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content