Outfoxed Comcast continues to pursue Sky in Europe

20 Jul 2018

Comcast building in Oregon. Image: Joshua Rainey Photography/Shutterstock

In a dizzying game of boardroom battles, Comcast has gone to ground in its pursuit of Fox’s entertainment assets but casts its ambitions Sky-wards.

Comcast has said it will cede the battle to own Fox’s entertainment assets to Disney, but the war isn’t over yet.

The digital communications giant had bid $65bn for Fox’s entertainment division, which produces movies like Avatar and X-Men, along with Fox’s regional sports networks and channels such as National Geographic.

However, Disney effectively outfoxed Comcast with a superior bid of $71bn for the studios.

Disney may have won that particular battle but the war for dominance of entertainment in Europe is far from over with Comcast still battling with Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox to buy European satellite broadcaster Sky.

Murdoch is on his own personal Fox hunt

Murdoch is going all-out to win ownership of Sky, even selling Fox’s entertainment assets as well as its stake in regional sports networks and Hulu.

Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox already owns 39pc of Sky and wants to complete its ownership.

Last week (12 July) we reported that Comcast had increased its bid for Sky to $34bn. This came just hours after Murdoch’s empire bid $32.6bn for the broadcaster.

The boardroom battles signify major changes in the world of media and entertainment, a world where traditional broadcasters and entertainment studios are re-orienting themselves to take on newcomers like Netflix, Amazon and YouTube.

The prize is the consumer who is willing to pay a subscription – AKA the nirvana of recurring revenue – for entertainment on demand.

In June, the $85.4bn merger of telecoms giant AT&T with Time Warner was given legal approval in the US, clearing the way for the biggest telecoms player in the US to take ownership of one the nation’s biggest entertainment empires.

It is all about to get very interesting. Don’t hit pause just yet.

Comcast building in Oregon. Image: Joshua Rainey Photography/Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years