Comcast has abandoned its pursuit of 21st Century Fox's film and television assets, leaving Disney in pole position as the sole bidder. It said it would focus its attention on buying Sky instead.
Comcast has dropped its €56.6 billion bid to buy most of Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox media empire.
It paves the way for its rival Walt Disney to acquire Fox's assets instead. Comcast said it would instead focus its efforts in clinching a deal to buy almost 51% of the pan-European TV network Sky.
But the cable group and owner of NBC Universal is trying to fend off a rival offer from Fox, which already owns a 39% stake in Sky.
Brian Roberts, chairman and chief executive of Comcast said: “Comcast does not intend to pursue further the acquisition of the 21st Century Fox assets and, instead, will focus on our recommended offer for Sky.”
Last week Murdoch's Fox made a €27 billion bid to buy Sky, only to be trumped hours later by a new Comcast offer of €29 billion.
The stakes are high for both US media empires as Sky's 23 million pay-TV customers are a big draw.
The bidding battle between Disney, Comcast, and Fox is part of a bigger war to compete with the online streaming giants such as Netflix and Amazon.
Sky’s share price fell 2% on Thursday following Comcast’s news to pull out of the race for Fox. It indicates that investors fear Murdoch may not return with a higher bid now.
Under UK takeover rules, Murdoch has until August 8 to submit a new bid for Sky.
Comcast is the parent company of NBC, which has a stake in Euronews.