21st Century Fox surprisingly became a takeover target earlier this month when word first surfaced that Disney recently held talks with Fox about buying key assets including the film and TV production studios, worldwide TV platforms including Sky and Star India and the FX and National Geographic cable groups.
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.
Comcast apparently wants to purchase some of Fox's American networks as well as global assets, including Star India and a minority stake in the European broadcaster Sky.
Comcast is in discussions with 21st Century Fox about buying its movie studio, some cable channels and its worldwide arms, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. The rise of online competitors like Netflix and YouTube has slowed the growth of pay-TV, and Comcast, the biggest US cable provider, has been adding film and TV assets to ensure it has a hand in both programming and distribution. This comes a week after it was reported that Fox and Disney have been in talks for a possible sale.
"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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The Mouse House may have some competition as Comcast, Verizon, and Sony Entertainment have all expressed interest in acquiring 21st Century Fox as they are all said to be enticed by the company's global assets.
Other companies may also want the Fox assets.
Acquiring 20th Century Fox's assets - including franchises such as X-Men, Fantastic Four, Avatar, Planet of the Apes, Alien, Predator and Die Hard - would certainly be a smart move for Sony, which has struggled with its own franchises, and recently lost the rights to James Bond. Adding Fox to that would give them a truly compelling library for their new streaming service.
Fox shares rallied more than six percent to end at $31.15, the highest level since April.