Comcast Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc. have looked into acquiring a big portion of 21st Century Fox Inc., swooping in after talks to sell film and television assets to Walt Disney Co. cooled, according to people familiar with the matter.
Fox declined to respond to requests for comment.
It is unclear whether Fox's broadcast assets are part of any of the conversations.
If such a deal took place, it would leave Fox with its Fox News channel, sports channels, the Fox broadcast network and several TV stations. Coverage of the potential deal gave 21st Century Fox shares a 7 percent boost in after-hours trading and gave Comcast a smaller 1 percent bump.
Sources caution that the sale discussion process within Fox is in the very preliminary stages. Fox on Wednesday held its annual shareholders meeting on the 20th Century Fox lot in Century City but it's still not clear if Fox has convened a board meeting to discuss the incoming queries.
The deal appears to be along similar parameters as talks recently held between Disney and Fox, in which the Mouse House would have acquired Fox's TV and film production business and several cable channels.
"Either Disney or Comcast would be a good fit, but its always about price and neither has to be a strategic buyer, only opportunistic", said JBL Advisors analyst Jeffrey Logsdon. The $15 billion deal set last December has been held up in a United Kingdom regulatory review for months.
Comcast, the largest cable provider in the United States, has steadily boosted its content ownership over the years and buying Fox's assets would give it an worldwide distribution footprint and strengthen its position against Disney.
A week after reports of interest from Walt Disney Co in buying out much of Rupert Murdoch's USA film and television empire, the sources hinted at the prospect of a battle between other media suitors for the assets.