Disney slides after Comcast tops 21st Century Fox's bid for Sky

Al Bello/Getty ImagesRupert Murdoch.


Shares of Disney fell 1.3% in early trading Tuesday after Comcast unexpectedly said it would launch a competing $US31 billion bid for British broadcaster Sky.

The offer could throw a wrench into 21st Century Fox’s previously attempts to increase its stake in Sky from 40% to a majority 61% before selling the company to Disney.

For years now, 21st Century Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch has made multiple attempts to buy the British satellite operator, but suffered a major setback in June 2017 when the UK government said it would refer the possible deal to regulators.

Fox has already agreed on paper to sell its stake in Sky to Disney as part of a $US52.4 billion (¬£37.5 billion) package of film and TV assets. At the time the deal was announced, 21st Century Fox said it remained “committed to completing its proposed acquisition of the shares in Sky it does not own.”

Comcast was one of the interested bidders in Fox’s entertainment assets, according to multiple reports.

Comcast says it is “confident that we will be able to receive the necessary regulatory approvals,” and Wall Street seems to agree.

“We expect this deal to go through as we do not think Fox (or Disney, who are acquiring the Sky assets as part of their purchase of various Fox assets) will want to get into a bidding war, especially given the complications surrounding Sky News,” Liberium media analyst Ian Whittaker said in a note Tuesday morning.

This story is developing…

Oscar Williams-Grut contributed to this report from London

NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at research.businessinsider.com.au.