Verizon, Comcast Approach 21st Century Fox About Acquiring Assets

The assets were the subject of recent talks between Fox and Walt Disney Co.

(Reuters) - Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications Inc have both approached Twenty-First Century Fox Inc to express interest in buying Fox assets that were the subject of recent talks between Fox and Walt Disney Co, two people familiar with the situation told Reuters on Thursday.

News of the approaches came the same day the U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted to end a 42-year-old restriction on ownership of multiple TV stations in a major market, removing a major roadblock to media company mergers.

It is unclear whether Fox’s broadcast assets are part of any of the conversations.

Fox shares jumped nearly 8 percent in after-hours trading. Shares of Viacom Inc and CBS Corp also rose more than 2 percent, a sign investors may see then as potential targets.

Disney was in talks to buy Fox’s movie and TV production studios, cable networks FX and National Geographic and international assets such as the Star network in India and European pay TV provider Sky Plc , CNBC reported last week.

The assets would give Comcast, the largest cable provider in the United States which bought NBCUniversal in 2011, an international distribution footprint. For Verizon, the U.S. No. 1 wireless carrier, it would provide movies and TV shows to stream to its mobile subscribers.

Comcast and Verizon declined comment. Fox did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan and Sweta Singh in Bengaluru and Anjali Athavaley in New York; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Bill Rigby)