Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

21st Century Fox says will sell its minority stake in Sky Broadcasting to Comcast.

The details: Disney, which struck a deal to buy the majority of Fox's entertainment assets this year, including its 39% stake in Sky, said in a statement Wednesday that it agreed to the transaction because it will help offload debt.

Why it matters: Comcast just won a dramatic settlement auction over the weekend to buy a minority stake in Sky for roughly $40 billion dollars. Now, they'll own a majority stake in the European Pay-TV and streaming company, which will dramatically increase their international footprint.

Between the lines: Negotiations between Fox, Disney and Comcast have been bitter and complicated over the past few months, but this pretty much puts an end to a months-long battle for assets.

  • Disney aggressively battled Comcast and eventually out-bid the U.S. telecom giant for 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets (most of which are driven by international revenues).
  • As a result, Comcast bid aggressively in this past weekend's auction to beat Fox to a minority stake in Sky.
  • The current value of Fox’s Sky stake is more than $15 billion, per Fox.

Our thought bubble: One can assume that conversations about Fox eventually selling the stake over to Comcast have been happening for a while, in anticipation for this series of events. (Most expected Comcast to out-bid Fox for Sky.)

What's in it for everyone?

  • For Disney, letting go of Sky as a part of their acquisition package of Fox's entertainment assets will significantly reduce their debt to be able to invest in their streaming efforts.
  • For Fox, it still gets to sell minority stake, and will focus those revenues on building its new post-merger broadcast network, dubbed at this point "New Fox."
  • For Comcast, a majority ownership in Sky gives them access to 23 million European pay-TV households to expand their customer set dramatically and overseas.

What's next? Fox, Disney and Comcast all own a 30% stake in Hulu. It's unclear whether there will be any further negotiations for one party to sell those assets. In its statement, Disney says it plans to increase its investment in Hulu’s content offerings and international distribution.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Biden freezes U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official tells Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Podcasts

Robert Downey Jr. launches VC funds to help save the planet

Robert Downey Jr. on Wednesday announced the launch of two venture capital funds focused on startups in the sustainability sector, the latest evolution of a project he launched two years ago called Footprint Coalition.

Between the lines: This is a bit of life imitating art, as Downey Jr. spent 11 films portraying a character who sought to save the planet (or, in some cases, the universe).

DHS warns of "heightened threat" because of domestic extremism

Supporters of former President Trump protest inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday issued an advisory warning of a "heightened threat environment" in the U.S. because of "ideologically-motivated violent extremists."

Why it matters: DHS believes the threat of violence will persist for "weeks" following President Biden's inauguration. The extremists include those who opposed the presidential transition, people spurred by "grievances fueled by false narratives" and "anger over COVID-19 restrictions ... and police use of force[.]"

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!