Comcast called off its battle with Disney over much of 21st Century Fox’s TV and film business on Thursday, sending shares of both companies higher in the process.
Comcast stock increased 2.6 percent to $34.91 a share as markets closed, while Disney also enjoyed a 1.3 percent bump, hitting $112.13 a share. Fox shares dipped about 2 percent in early trading, but rallied to close only 0.3 percent down on the day.
Fox shareholders have enjoyed a nice run since Disney first announced its buyout plans in December 2017. The dueling Comcast-Disney offers have helped spark a 40 percent jump since Disney’s initial offer.
Wall Street appears to approve of Comcast waving the white flag, with shareholders happy to see the company isn’t increasing its $66 billion all-cash bid for Fox. At the same time, Comcast is turning its attention to European broadcaster Sky, a company that is 39 percent owned by Fox. Both companies will now fight over the remaining control of Sky.
Comcast’s move clears the way for Disney to acquire the film and TV studios, among other assets, from Fox. “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,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger 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.”
Upon completion of its $71.3 billion buyout of Fox’s assets, Disney will add to its content arsenal as it prepares to launch its own streaming service to take on Netflix. Iger was apparently thrilled when CNBC’s David Faber broke the news to him Thursday that Comcast is backing down, saying “holy crap” in response.