Comcast wants to buy 'most of' Fox, report says

The suitors are Comcast, America's largest cable company, Verizon, its biggest mobile network operator, and Sony, a big player in the American television, film and music businesses.

Reps for Fox and Sony declined to comment.

Shares of other media companies which could be dragged into a round of consolidation of US film and TV production and distribution were largely unchanged. Fox would be left with its assets including its cable news outlets and broadcast channel, including local stations. Viacom shares were up 10.3% at the close of trading Friday, after getting socked Thursday on the heels of the company's fiscal fourth quarter earnings report showing weakness in the domestic cable operations.

Shares in 21st Century Fox jumped by 6.2 per cent to close at $31.15 in NY last night as shares in Comcast slipped 2.5 per cent to $36.16. Sony's query came as an informal overture expressing interest in talking if Fox should move into a more formal auction process. Fox on Wednesday held its annual shareholders meeting on the 20th Century Fox lot in Century City but it's still not clear if Fox has convened a board meeting to discuss the incoming queries.

"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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Last week, unconfirmed reports said Fox rival Disney held similar talks without any agreement on asset sales.

Fox was formed by the 2013 breakup of Murdoch's News Corp into two separate firms as part of a plan to "unlock value" for shareholders.

Comcast owns NBCUniversal, and regulatory conditions placed on that deal expire in 2018.

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox is on the block, and that cable television conglomerate based in Philadelphia is interested, according to multiple reports.

Comcast, the largest cable provider in the United States, has steadily boosted its content ownership over the years and buying Fox's assets would give it an global distribution footprint and strengthen its position against Disney. "Some of (Fox's) key assets seem poised to spark a potentially robust auction, perhaps further underscoring a shifting paradigm of the overall media landscape".


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