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Courtesy of Netflix
Netflix is passing them all by.
MEDIA WARS

While Disney and Comcast fight over Fox, Netflix is now bigger than them all

By Ashley Rodriguez

Netflix is even bigger than Disney now. The streaming-video service, which held its initial public offering 16 years ago this week, surpassed the movie, TV, and theme-park giant today (May 24) in market value.

Netflix’s market capitalization rose to around $152.5 billion as of mid-day today, while Disney’s dipped to around $152.1 billion, daily FactSet data show.

Disney’s shares tumbled this week after rival Comcast confirmed plans to make a hostile and superior bid for Twenty-First Century Fox, which Disney previously agreed to buy for $52.4 billion in cash and stock. An activist investor urged Fox’s Rupert Murdoch (paywall) to seriously consider the potential offer. Comcast is said to be waiting on regulators (paywall) to rule on AT&T’s proposed merger with Time Warner, which is expected by June 12, to make a bid.

Netflix overtook Comcast’s market value this month, too.

Disney wants Fox’s assets to shore up its content library as it enters the streaming-video space. It recently launched a subscription streaming service for its sports network ESPN, and plans to launch a family-friendly service next year. It also wants to continue growing the streaming service Hulu, which Disney, Fox, and Comcast are all part owners of. Whichever company succeeds in buying Fox’s share would take a majority stake in Hulu.

Cable operator Comcast wants to buy Fox in order to gain an international foothold and diversify its business further. Fox has a stake in European pay-TV giant Sky and has a bid to acquire the rest of the company. Comcast has also offered to buy Sky. Fox’s studios and TV networks would add to Comcast’s portfolio of properties which also includes NBCUniversal’s TV, movie, and theme-park businesses, as well.

While the media giants battle it out, Netflix is quietly passing them by.

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