Comcast May Soon Grow Even Larger With Fox Acquisitions

A source familiar with the discussions said Comcast, Verizon and Sony are among the suitors in "preliminary" talks for the assets, which include Fox's stake in the British pay TV group Sky and its movie and television studio properties.

A week after reports of interest from Walt Disney Co in buying out much of Rupert Murdoch's US film and television empire, the sources hinted at the prospect of a battle between other media suitors for the assets. 21st Century Fox was carved out as a separate entity from News Corp.in 2013 amid a scandal involving the United Kingdom newspaper division and concerns that the financial challenges of the publishing businesses were dragging down the value of Fox media and entertainment assets.

It is unclear whether Fox's broadcast assets are part of any of the conversations. This could also include global assets such as Star and Sky that Fox now owns.

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Traditional media companies have been struggling with subscriber declines as streaming service Netflix has gained traction with younger audiences that shun traditional cable and satellite offerings.

"Previously, no-one would have guessed that such a meeting would have ever occurred".

Comcast and Disney also have some competition from Verizon, a second Reuters report indicates. This would give a company like Sony Entertainment, who is behind the PlayStation consoles, a chance to add the channel to its network - perhaps allowing them the option to give original programming another go after Powers was cancelled after two seasons. "Time Warner-Fox or Disney-Fox", Needham & Co analyst Laura Martin told Reuters.

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Earlier reports said the Murdochs were looking for a sale that would leave them with a more tightly focused media group which includes the Fox News channel and sports cable networks along with the Fox broadcast network.

Fox shares rallied more than six percent to end at $31.15, the highest level since April.

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