Will There Be a Bidding War for 21st Century Fox's Major Assets?

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Shares in media-entertainment giant 21st Century Fox surged to seven-month highs Friday after news it has been holding talks with at least three potential buyers for some of its television and film operations.

Comcast Corp. has joined the pursuit of Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox entertainment assets, expressing interest in acquiring Fox's Los Angeles-based movie studio, sports networks, cable channels and its vast global operations, according to two people familiar with the move. FOXA stock closed up $1.83 per share today, which represented a 6.24 percent increase.

Disney is another name that has been linked with a bid to buy Fox's stake in Sky and other assets, according to reports, though talks reportedly ended a few weeks ago.

Reports in the USA claim both Comcast and Verizon are exploring bids to buy a number of Fox asset, including its movie and TV production arm and its stake in Sky.

Fox has hired investment banking companies to field interest from the various companies, according to another person who was not authorized to comment.

Fox would still keep its profitable news and sports assets, since the company "is said to believe that a more tightly focused group of properties...could compete more effectively in the current marketplace". This was dismissed, however, by the company's executive chairman, Lachlan Murdoch, yesterday.

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The addition of Fox's TV assets and worldwide exposure would be attractive to Disney as it gears itself up to take on the players such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Netflix with its forthcoming direct-to-consumer offerings.

The sector is being roiled by so-called "cord cutting" with consumers ending or paring expensive bundles of cable channels, and younger viewers relying on streaming services.

"The AT&T and Time Warner deal is facing pushback due to concerns about vertical integration - an acquisition of material Fox assets by Comcast would face not only those concerns, but also horizontal merger concerns", added Jayant.

Comcast is also attracted by the prospect of gaining control of Hulu.

Last month, the regulators said they would assess Rupert Murdoch's influence on the country's political landscape as part of their investigation. Dupont Capital Management Corp bought a new stake in Twenty-First Century Fox during the second quarter worth about $122,000.

"All media companies should be talking strategically given the changing ecosystem", Wells Fargo Securities analyst Marci Ryvicker wrote in a report Thursday after The Wall Street Journal first reported the talks.