Comcast has pulled its bid to purchase 21st Century Fox, allowing Disney to move forward with the goal of bringing the movie rights to X-Men and the Fantastic Four over to Marvel Studios.
“Comcast 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,” the company said in a statement. With Comcast now focusing on purchasing Sky, the company has raised its bid to $34 billion for a 61-percent controlling stake.
Not one to be a sore loser, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts also offered congratulations to Disney's CEO Bob Iger on a successful coup. “I’d like to congratulate Bob Iger and the team at Disney and commend the Murdoch family and Fox for creating such a desirable and respected company.”
With Comcast no longer a competitor, Disney can now move forward, barring shareholder and regulatory approval, with its acquisition of Fox's film and TV studios. Of course, some of the franchises that will be of interest to comic book fans are X-Men, Fantastic Four, Deadpool, and Avatar, which will now fall under the Disney banner, along with a 30-percent stake in Hulu.
Back in June, Disney won antitrust approval to buy Fox's assets following an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department that calls for the divestment of 22 regional sports networks.
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Disney recently raised its bid from $$52.4 billion in December to $71.3 billion divided between cash and stock. When originally given a preference of who they'd like to sell to, the Murdoch Family preferred Disney over Comcast in large part due to the Iger's track record and the long-term story of Disney's stock. 21st Century Fox will now become "New Fox" and consist of Fox broadcast network, Fox News Channel and local TV stations.