Both Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications Inc are showing interest to acquire assets of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. The interest in a portion of Murdoch’s assets comes although the U.S. Justice Department has previously prevented AT&T Inc from acquiring Time Warner. This questions the government’s disposition regarding large mergers within the media industry.
The Fox assets that the companies want are Fox’s movie and TV production studios, cable networks FX and National Geographic, and the international Star network in India as well as the European provider Sky Plc. Walt Disney Co has also expressed its desire for these assets to Fox previously. After the Wall Street Journal reported the news, Fox shares increased nearly 8.0 percent.
Since Comcast has previously acquired a stake of NBCUniversal, the added purchase of the Fox assets would make Comcast the largest cable provider in the United States. Comcast continues to increase its ownership of content and buying Fox’s assets would further position Comcast as an diversified corporation to compete with Disney, according to analysts.
If Verizon were to sign a deal, it give the U.S. No. 1 wireless phone carrier proprietorship to movies and TV shows for streaming to its mobile consumers. Verizon spent $4.48 billion purchasing the center business of Yahoo. This year, Yahoo had merged with AOL and formed Oath, which owns over 50 brands including HuffPost, TechCrunch and Tumblr.
Roger Entner, an analyst, stated that, “It is undeniable that there is a trend of combining content with distribution.” Verizon has announced that its plans to launch a new streaming service and could have more targeted advertising with a vertically integrated platform, he added.
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The interest from these media companies came after the U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted to eliminate barriers to added consolidation among media companies. This can possibly bring forth numerous new deals between TV, radio and newspaper companies as to compete with online media.