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Is Verizon No Longer Interested in Fox?

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May. 22 2018, Published 11:08 a.m. ET

Verizon has other priorities

Verizon (VZ) was one of the companies that reportedly made an offer to buy the majority of Twenty-First Century Fox’s (FOX) (FOXA) assets. It came before the media conglomerate, controlled by the Murdoch family, chose to strike a deal with the Walt Disney Company (DIS) instead. Comcast (CMCSA) is another potential buyer whose offer Fox rejected.

While Comcast continues to show interest in Fox’s assets, Verizon may have lost its appetite for Fox since it has other priorities it considers more important. Verizon’s CEO Lowell McAdam said recently that building the company into a traditional television network is not his priority. The assets that Fox sold to Disney include a film and television studio and a portfolio of television networks.

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Verizon is focused on 5G and digital media investments

At this point, Verizon’s priorities are investing in 5G services and digital media assets. It’s aiming to launch commercial 5G services in at least four US markets this year, with plans to expand to other markets later. In the digital media space, Verizon is busy building its Oath subsidiary, which is vying against Facebook (FB) and Alphabet’s (GOOGL) Google for digital media advertising dollars.

Oath captured nearly 12% of US digital ad budgets in 2017

According to eMarketer, Oath captured 11.8% of US digital ad budgets last year compared to 19.9% for Facebook and 38.6% for Google. Globally, digital ad spending is poised to grow to $427.3 billion by 2022 from $232.3 billion in 2017.

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