Why AT&T's Time Warner Woes Bode Poorly For Comcast Deal With Fox

21st Century Fox on the block

The prospect of a bidding war for 21st Century Fox's prized television, film and distribution businesses has increased as the company holds acquisition talks with some of the titans of the media and telecommunications industry.

Comcast, the owner of TV networks such as NBC and the movie studio Universal Pictures, approached the Rupert Murdoch-controlled media group about the assets, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information.

Also, any acquisition of Fox assets by a fellow media giant would not include Fox News or Fox Sports due to antitrust issues. The rise of online competitors like Netflix and YouTube has slowed the growth of pay-TV, and Comcast, the biggest USA cable provider, has been adding film and TV assets to ensure it has a hand in both programming and distribution.

"Either Disney or Comcast would be a good fit, but its always about price and neither has to be a strategic buyer, only opportunistic", said JBL Advisors analyst Jeffrey Logsdon.

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New York City-based 21st Century Fox generated $8.2 billion from its filmed entertainment division in is 2017 fiscal year that ended in June, down 3 percent from fiscal 2016.

USA cable and telecom companies have been buying up media assets and launching advertising businesses in the past several years.

Shares of other media companies which could be dragged into a round of consolidation of USA film and TV production and distribution were largely unchanged.

Murdoch and Fox have been seeking to gain control of Sky, already holding a 39 percent stake, amid a lengthy investigation by United Kingdom regulators. Comcast, the country's largest cable company, finished buying NBCUniversal's cable channels and movie studio in 2013 and added Dreamworks Animation in 2016. Regulators have taken a tougher-than-expected stance on that deal and have yet to clear it. The company has previously focused on building its business, and even offered to buy Time Warner in 2014.

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