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Comcast Drops Out Of Fox Bidding War, Clears Way For Disney

BURBANK (CBSLA/AP) – After a heated bidding war, Comcast announced Thursday it has dropped out of the fight for 21st Century Fox, ceding the way for Walt Disney Corp. to acquire the company.

"Comcast 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 company wrote in a statement.

Comcast and Disney have been upping the stakes for several months. In June, Disney made a $71.3 billion counterbid for Fox following Comcast's $65 billion offer.

Comcast would have had to offer more than $80 billion to stay competitive with Disney. Instead, it has separately bid $34 billion for Sky.

Disney had initially made a $52.5 billion all-stock offer in December.

The U.S. Department of Justice has approved Disney's bid as long as Disney, which owns the national sports network ESPN, sells Fox's 22 regional sports networks. Fox shareholders are set to vote on Disney's offer July 27.

Once the acquisition is complete, Disney will take over Fox's television and movie studios, cable channels FX and National Geographic, along with a controlling stake in streaming service Hulu, and international properties in India and Latin America.

Some Fox businesses, including Fox News Channel and the Fox television network, will remain with media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his family.

"Our incredible enthusiasm for this acquisition and the value it will create has continued to grow as we've come to know 21st Century Fox's stellar array of talent and assets," Disney Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert A. Iger said in a statement. "We're extremely pleased with today's news, and our focus now is on completing the regulatory process and ultimately moving toward integrating our businesses."

Disney is taking the big swing because it feels it needs greater scale and more entertainment firepower to compete with tech titans such as Netflix, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple, which have deep pockets, global businesses and direct relationships with consumers, according to the Los Angeles Times.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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