For the past few months, The Walt Disney Company and Comcast have been engaged in a bidding war over 21st Century Fox‘s entertainment assets.
It was just a few weeks ago now that Disney upped their bid to $71 billion, essentially making it impossible for Comcast to top them. And now Comcast, which already owns Universal Pictures, is bowing out. Check out the full story, below.
Deadline was the first to confirm that Comcast was dropping out. The news follows the Department of Justice’s approval of Disney’s new $71 billion dollar offer to acquire Fox’s entertainment assets. As a part of the new deal, Disney agreed to sell Fox’s 22 regional sports networks. The move would prevent ESPN, a Disney-owned sports asset, from becoming a monopoly.
Disney also agreed to take on Fox’s $13.5 billion in debt, taking the price north of $85 billion. At the same time, the studio made it nearly impossible for Comcast to come in with an increased bid of their own. Comcast was already deep in debt, and while acquiring a new studio would have bolstered their content, they would have been taking on more financial damage.
At stake was Fox’s entertainment assets, which includes film properties like the original Star Wars trilogy, Avatar (which works out with Pandora â€“ The World of Avatar opening at Disney’s Animal Kingdom), Marvel franchises like X-Men, Deadpool, and Fantastic Four, and TV shows like The Simpsons, Family Guy, Legion, Atlanta, and even a DC Entertainment title in Gotham. The deal includes cable properties like Star India, FX, Nat Geo, Fox’s 30 percent share of Hulu, and Foxâ€™s 39 percent stake in Sky, the European satellite TV company.
The 30 percent of Hulu is an especially interesting aspect of the deal, as Disney already owns 30 percent. Acquiring Fox brings their total to 60 percent and gives them a majority stake in Hulu. And who holds onto the other 40 percent? Comcast has their own 30 percent, and AT&T owns 10 percent. It’s also interesting considering that Disney announced their own streaming service a year ago.
â€œComcast does not intend to pursue further the acquisition of the Twenty-First Century Fox assets and, instead, will focus on our recommended offer for Sky,â€ the company said in a statement.
Disney CEO Bob Iger had this to say about the merger:
â€œOur incredible enthusiasm for this acquisition and the value it will create has continued to grow as weâ€™ve come to know 21st Century Foxâ€™s stellar array of talent and assets. Weâ€™re extremely pleased with todayâ€™s news, and our focus now is on completing the regulatory process and ultimately moving toward integrating our businesses.â€
But now it remains to be seen if Disney’s acquisition will have any influence on Fox’s properties. Will the studio continue to allow Deadpool to be as raunchy and violent as he is, or will they transform him into something more tepid? Iger said he wouldn’t change the character and would like to keep him as an R-rated character. But how many times have we heard something like that before. Let’s just hope he stays true to his word.
Fox isn’t going away exactly. They will be keeping their news and sports assets, and revamping their company into the newly branded New Fox.
Additional reporting by The Movie God