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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 April, 2004, 19:54 GMT 20:54 UK
Comcast pulls out of Disney bid
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Disney has fought off Comcast's approach
US cable TV firm Comcast has scrapped its takeover bid for Walt Disney after the entertainment giant showed "no interest" in the deal.

Comcast launched its bid for Disney in February with an offer which - at the time - was worth $66bn (37bn).

A union between the two companies would have created the world's biggest media firm.

But resistance to the approach by Disney's board meant it was now time to "walk away", Comcast said.


A merger between the two firms would have seen Comcast's cable and internet services combining with Disney's assets, which include ABC television, ESPN and the Disney and Miramax film studios.

Comcast chief executive Brian Roberts
Being disciplined means knowing when it is time to walk away - that time is now
Brian Roberts, Comcast chief executive

The original offer involved $54.1bn in stock and the taking on of $11.9bn of Disney debt, although share price movements since February have reduced the value of the offer.

The bid had piled pressure on Disney's chief executive Michael Eisner, who was already facing shareholder dissatisfaction at Disney's performance.

In March, a shareholder revolt saw Mr Eisner lose his title of chairman, with the company deciding to split the top two roles.

But on Tuesday, Disney's board of directors gave its full support to Mr Eisner following a two-day meeting.

New target?

The Disney board had consistently rejected Comcast's approach, and the cable firm said this resistance was behind the abandonment of the bid.

Comcast chief executive Brian Roberts said: "It has become clear that there is no interest on the part of Disney's management and board in putting Comcast and Disney together."

He said: "Being disciplined means knowing when it is time to walk away - that time is now. We're moving on. Our desire is to find attractive ways to grow."

Mr Roberts said he expected Comcast to begin taking a serious look at bankrupt cable company Adelphia, which recently announced it was seeking a buyer.

Comcast made its announcement on Disney as it reported earnings of $65m for the first three months of the year, compared with a loss of $297m in the same period in 2003.

The BBC's Stephen Evans
"Other big companies may yet fancy their takeover chances"

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