Comcast prepares to challenge Disney for Fox assets

Rupert Murdoch

Comcast prepares to challenge Disney for Fox assets

Comcast has announced it may step in with its own bid to acquire 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets, potentially blocking a deal that Disney had already announced it had agreed to go through with to the tune of $50-plus billion.

But earlier this month, it was reported that Comcast secured a $60 billion bridge loan from its creditors and is closely following an upcoming court decision that will determine if AT&T can buy Time Warner Inc. for $85.4 billion.

Comcast backed off of its attempts to purchase Fox in December, just before Disney made its $52.4 billion offer. They do not include the Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network and Fox Broadcasting Company, which are likely to be separated into what is now commonly referred to as "New Fox".

Comcast has not said officially how much it will bid for the Fox assets, but analysts say it could be 15 percent to 25 percent higher than Disney's offer. The company said the structure and terms of its offer would be at least as favorable as Disney's.

It's also the latest in a dizzying period of merger moves in tech and media: In addition to Disney's deal for Fox, Comcast is trying to undermine Fox (yes, the same Fox) to win 61 percent of United Kingdom television company Sky TV, and AT&T is trying to buy TV programmer Time Warner despite government opposition.

I know the concerns of fans have literally no impact on this kind of big money deal, but is there anyone out there in geekdom, that wouldn't be gutted if Disney didn't get hold of Fox. The U.S. Justice Department sued to stop the deal on antitrust grounds, saying that a combination of AT&T and HBO-owner Time Warner would be bad for consumers.

Comcast, owner of NBC and Universal Pictures, has also made a 22 billion pound ($30 billion) offer to acquire the 61 percent stake in European pay-TV group Sky Plc that Fox does not already own.

Fox and Disney declined to comment.

Experts say the firm would be unlikely to proceed with an offer for Fox until a judge rules on that case in June. We never got the level of engagement needed to make a definitive offer.

"In addition, our directors, though, of course are aware of their fiduciary duties on behalf of all shareholders", he said.

Further complicating things here is the fact that Comcast is now in a bidding war for Sky. There are few other domestic or global companies with the revenues or profits that could meaningfully help Comcast grow through acquisitions, he said.

Comcast has not specified a price for its bid.

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