In a statement on its website, Comcast - which owns CNBC, NBC Universal and Universal Pictures – said it “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 move leaves the field clear for The Walt Disney Company’s (NYSE:DIS) US$71.3bn bid to win control of a swath of Rupert Murdoch’s Fox media assets, with the movie studios giant having gained US Department of Justice approval for the deal last month providing it sells-off Fox's 22 regional sports networks.
Last week, Comcast trumped a rival bid from Fox for Sky, with its increased, recommended cash offer pitched at 1,475p a share, well above Fox’s raised bid of 1,400p a share, which values Sky in total at £24.5bn.
Fox, which already owns 39% of Sky, initially launched a 1,075p per share agreed bid for the outstanding 61% in December 2016.
However, the then £19bn takeover bid was embroiled in a takeover probe until this month when the UK government finally approved the deal as long as the Sky News business is sold off to a “suitable third party”.
In reaction to the latest bid saga twist. Sky shares in London fell 2.1% to 1,499.5p in early afternoon trading, with investors betting that Fox won’t now continue the bidding war for the UK firm.
Meanwhile, in pre-market New York trading, Fox shares were 1.3% lower at US$45.74, while Comcast added 2.8% at US$34.99, and Disney was up 1.2% at US$112.05.