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

Biden campaign raises $26 million in 24 hours after announcing Harris as running mate

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden's campaign announced on Wednesday that it raised $26 million in the 24 hours after revealing Sen. Kamala Harris as his vice presidential pick.

Why it matters: The cash influx signals that Harris has helped the Democratic presidential campaign pick up steam. Nearly 150,000 contributors were first-time donors, according to the campaign statement.

Updated 28 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 20,456,016 — Total deaths: 745,600— Total recoveries: 12,663,206Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 5,190,948 — Total deaths: 165,883 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
  3. Politics: Pelosi says Mnuchin told her White House is "not budging" on stimulus position.
  4. Business: U.S. already feeling effects of ending unemployment benefits.
  5. Public health: America's two-sided COVID-19 response America is flying blind on its coronavirus response.
  6. Education: New Jersey governor allows schools to reopenGallup: America's confidence in public school system jumps to highest level since 2004.

Harris previews dual role in debut speech: Attacking Trump and humanizing Biden

Sen. Kamala Harris began her first speech as Joe Biden's running mate excoriating President Trump for his "mismanagement" of the coronavirus and scorn for the racial justice movement, before quickly pivoting to how she came to know Biden: through her friendship with his late son Beau.

Why it matters: The debut speech on Wednesday underscored the dual roles that Harris will take on for the rest of the campaign — humanizing Biden during a moment of national crisis and "prosecuting" the case against Trump as a failed president.