Comcast has ended its effort to acquire the film and TV assets of Twenty-First Century Fox. Instead, it is focusing on its bid to pick up British telecommunications company Sky. Comcast had placed an all-cash bid of $65 billion for Fox's movie studio, along with its regional sports networks and such cable channels as National Geographic and FX. Disney topped that with its most recent cash-and-stock offer of $71 billion. Comcast’s bidding war with Fox for Sky is still heating up, however. Fox, which currently owns 39 percent of Sky, has valued the company at $32.5 billion, while Comcast has raised the stakes with a $34 billion bid. If Comcast were to acquire Sky, that could possibly throw a wrench in the Comcast-Disney deal since Fox’s stake in Sky was part of the overall package that Disney is bidding for. A report in the Wall Street Journal notes that several Wall Street sources say the television company isn’t key to Disney’s future, and that Disney CEO Bob Iger might not be willing to work all that hard to acquire it.
Isaac Lee is leaving his post as chief content officer at Univision. He has been with the Spanish-language broadcaster since 2010 and has overseen its news and digital divisions. Lee was a driving force behind the development of Fusion Media Group, Univision’s joint venture with ABC, which includes both television (Fusion TV, El Rey Network) and digital (Gizmodo Media Group, The Root, The Onion) properties. Fusion was seen as a way to help the company attract a younger, English-speaking audience. Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Univision was looking into selling the division. Lee says that he plans to start his own television production company.
Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., which has hit a snag in its plans to acquire Tribune Media for $3.9 billion, says it will address the concerns that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has raised over the deal. Sinclair is withdrawing plans to sell two of its stations, KDAF in Dallas and KIAH in Houston, to Cunningham Broadcasting Corp. That sale had been intended to help Sinclair meet the limit on how many stations a single company can own. But the business relationship between Sinclair and Cunningham has raised questions over the amount of control that Sinclair would still maintain over the stations. “The evidence we’ve received suggests that certain station divestitures that have been proposed to the FCC would allow Sinclair to control those stations in practice, even if not in name, in violation of the law,” Pai said Monday.