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Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Comcast announced Thursday that it does not intend to further pursue the acquisition of the Twenty-First Century Fox's entertainment assets — choosing instead to focus on beating Fox to acquire Sky Broadcasting in Europe.

Why it matters: Comcast has been batting Disney in a fierce bidding war over Fox's entertainment assets, like its movie studio and cable channels National Geographic and FX, for months. In withdrawing from the battle, it nearly guarantees that Disney will acquire most of Fox, barring any regulatory concerns.

 “I’d like to congratulate Bob Iger and the team at Disney and commend the Murdoch family and Fox for creating such a desirable and respected company."
— Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and CEO, Comcast Corporation

Be smart: The news is not that surprising, given that Comcast has been waiting to outbid Disney's second bid for the properties for $71.5 billion. Still, many expected Comcast to push further.

  • A WSJ report a few weeks ago stated that Comcast was talking to financiers to potentially help back another bid.
  • Another report suggested that Comcast was lining up bidders to purchase Fox's regional sports networks, in an effort to ease investor concerns over regulatory approvals.

The bottom line: In dropping its bid for Fox in the U.S., Comcast can focus its efforts on gaining access to nearly 23 million households across five European countries with a winning Sky bid.

  • Sky is also compelling to Comcast because it has a robust over-the-top streaming business — which would help its new majority owner build a streaming audience overseas.

Go deeper

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J&J CEO "absolutely" confident in vaccine distribution goals

Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky said Monday that he is "absolutely" confident that the company will be able to meet its distribution goals, which include 100 million doses by June and up to a billion by the end of 2021.

Driving the news: J&J is already in the process of shipping 3.9 million doses this week, just days after the FDA issued an emergency use authorization for the one-shot vaccine. Gorsky said he expects vaccines to be administered to Americans "literally within the next 24 to 48 hours."

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Clash of the central bankers

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Bloomberg, Samuel Corum (Stringer)/Getty Images

While Fed chair Jerome Powell is brushing off the seismic rise in government bond yields and a corresponding decline in stock prices, a group of central bankers in the Pacific are starting to take action.

Driving the news: Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda told parliament on Friday the BOJ would not allow yields on government debt to continue rising further above the BOJ's 0% target.

Biden expresses support for Amazon workers' union vote in Alabama

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President Biden expressed support for a union vote by Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama in a two-minute video posted on Twitter Sunday, though he did not name the tech giant specifically.

Why it matters: A vote by workers at the Bessemer, Ala., warehouse to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union would make the facility the first Amazon warehouse to unionize in the U.S., per NPR. The election will run through March 29.