Comcast, Verizon have eye on Fox assets

Comcast, Verizon have eye on Fox assets”

Those talks have since subsided, CNN reported.

"It's hard to see how an attempt by Comcast to acquire more content assets wouldn't have a very tough row to hoe with the Department of Justice", Vijay Jayant, an analyst at Evercore ISI, said in a note to clients. For Verizon, the U.S. No. 1 wireless carrier, it would provide movies and TV shows to stream to its mobile subscribers.

Last week, unconfirmed reports said Fox rival Disney held similar talks without any agreement on asset sales.

Earlier reports said the Murdochs were looking for a sale that would leave them with a more tightly focused media group that includes the Fox News channel and sports cable networks, along with the Fox broadcast network. Comcast tried to buy Disney in 2004.

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A source familiar with the discussions said Comcast, Verizon and Sony are among the suitors in "preliminary" talks for the assets, which include Fox's stake in the British pay TV group Sky and its movie and television studio properties.

While Disney's interest in taking over 21st Century Fox may lie in regaining rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four, as well as adding to their catalog for their forthcoming streaming service, the other parties are said to be interested in the United Kingdom pay-TV company Sky - one of 21st Century Fox's many global assets.

At the same time, USA telecom and pay TV giant AT&T is seeking to close its planned $85 billion deal for media-entertainment group Time Warner amid concerns of a U.S. antitrust lawsuit.

"The AT&T and Time Warner deal is facing pushback due to concerns about vertical integration - an acquisition of material Fox assets by Comcast would face not only those concerns, but also horizontal merger concerns", added Jayant.

21st Century Fox surprisingly became a takeover target earlier this month when word first surfaced that Disney recently held talks with Fox about buying key assets including the film and TV production studios, global TV platforms including Sky and Star India and the FX and National Geographic cable groups.

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