Comcast drops its pursuit of Fox, making way for Disney acquisition

Comcast announced this morning that it’s halting its efforts to acquire the film and television assets of 21st Century Fox.

Disney made a deal to acquire those assets last year, but after a district court judge approved the merger of AT&T and Time Warner (despite the antitrust-related objections of President Trump’s Department of Justice), Comcast announced another, higher bid.

That, in turn, prompted Disney to make an even higher offer of $71.3 billion (split between cash and stock). With Comcast dropping out, it seems like this bid will go through — if it can get regulatory approval.

Comcast says that instead of continuing to pursue a Fox acquisition, it’s focusing on its offer to acquire British satellite broadcaster Sky.

Another possible factor: The DOJ says it’s appealing the court’s approval of the AT&T-Time Warner merger.

“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,” Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian L. Roberts said in a statement.

As of 10:08am Eastern, Comcast shares were up 2.85 percent and Disney shares were up 2.52 percent, while 21st Century Fox shares had dropped 1.68 percent.