Comcast has discussed a potential acquisition of 21st Century Fox, according to a Thursday report from CNBC.
The deal appears to be along similar parameters as talks recently held between Disney and Fox, in which the Mouse House would have acquired Fox’s TV and film production business and several cable channels. Like Disney, which owns ABC, NBC owner Comcast is not allowed to own two broadcast networks.
Also, any acquisition of Fox assets by a fellow media giant would not include Fox News or Fox Sports due to antitrust issues.
A Comcast-Fox union would create an entity owning popular cable channels including Bravo and FX, as well as the Universal and Fox studios. It could also give Comcast more owned-and-operated content for its pay-TV services, as well as its new Instant TV streaming platform — and any other internet television services it may develop. Disney, which is launching a Disney-branded streaming service — which will also serve as the home of its upcoming Marvel and “Star Wars” movies — could have also used Fox’s content to bolster that offering.
And once Disney’s interest in Fox — and Fox’s willingness to hold talks — emerged earlier this month, it naturally opened the floodgates for other potential buyers as media companies continue to consolidate. AT&T agreed to buy Time Warner in an $85 billion deal more than a year ago, which has still not been approved and may face a looming antitrust suit, while Discovery acquired Scripps earlier this year in an $11.9 billion deal.
Shares of Fox are up more than eight percent in after-hours trading.