July 19, 2018 / 12:59 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 2-Comcast drops pursuit for Fox assets, to focus on Sky offer

(Adds details on reasons for Comcast dropping bid)

July 19 (Reuters) - Comcast Corp said it dropped its pursuit of a group of media assets owned by Twenty-First Century Fox Inc on Thursday and will focus on its offer for European pay-TV group Sky Plc.

Shares of Comcast were up 2.2 percent in premarket trade, while Fox fell 1 percent. Shares of Walt Disney Co, which has agreed a deal to buy the Fox assets, were up marginally.

"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 said on Thursday.

Disney fended off Comcast's $66 billion all-cash challenge to its deal for the Fox assets last month by sweetening its offer to $71 billion in cash-and-stock. Time had run out for Comcast to come back with a new offer, with Fox shareholders scheduled to vote on the Disney deal on July 27.

Comcast dropped its bid for the Fox assets because of concerns about price, divestitures it might be required to make to complete the deal and the impact on the value of its bid for Sky, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The cable operator will now focus on the $34 billion offer to acquire 61 percent of Sky. Fox, which owns 39 percent of Sky, has been also seeking to acquire the majority stake.

The fight for Sky is part of a bigger battle being waged in the entertainment industry as the world's media giants splash out tens of billions of dollars on deals to be able to compete with Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc. (Reporting by Munsif Vengattil; Editing by Bernard Orr and Bill Rigby)

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