Disney's chances of completing the 20th Century Fox merger have just gone up as Comcast is unlikely to submit another bid, instead focusing their attention on acquiring Sky. The last several months have seen the beginning of a massive shakeup for Hollywood. When 21st Century Fox's TV and film assets became available to buy, Disney and Comcast were the top two suitors. Disney struck a deal at the end of 2017 and has been moving forward ever since, all while Comcast continued to try and get the deal instead.
The bidding war really heated up when the AT&T-Time Warner deal was approved, as Comcast's believed the U.S. Department of Justice would also approve them buying Fox. Disney immediately countered Comcast's all-cash bid with an even larger proposal - which Fox immediately accepted. While Comcast could make another offer, it appears they are moving on.
CNBC reports that Comcast is "unlikely" to make another bid for Fox following the latest agreement. They will instead turn their attention towards buying the European TV network Sky. Fox currently owns a 39 percent stake in Sky and has been caught up in a separate bidding war with Comcast for the remaining 61 percent. Comcast's decision to back away from the Fox deal comes as the previously approved AT&T-Time Warner deal is being appealed and could potentially not happen anymore.
Both of these possible deals for Comcast have been about expanding their reach and growing in the media landscape. However, there's never been much of a sense that Comcast was close to winning the Fox deal anyways. From early on, reports pointed to the brass at Fox favoring a deal with Disney instead. This was essentially proven true when it was revealed that Comcast outbid Disney originally, but Fox accepted the smaller deal from the start.
Comcast shifting their focus to Sky looks to be the better move. While Sky is viewed as a valuable asset, it is unlikely to be reason enough for Disney to let the entire Fox acquisition fall through. There's been reports that Comcast and Disney could split Fox's assets too. Given Comcast's new targets, they could come to an agreement where Comcast gains full control of Sky (including Fox's 39 percent stake) while Disney gets the rest.
All of these details still need to be ironed out, and Comcast's stance could change if the AT&T-Time Warner merger moves forward without a hitch, but all signs point to Disney's deal happening. Disney's already received approval by the government and with Comcast now out of the way, the deal should progress as expected and without many (if any) difficulties arising.