Comcast tops Disney with $65bn offer for Twenty-First Century Fox
Jun 15 2018
The all-cash offer for Fox's movie and TV studios and other assets including the X-Men franchise, opens a war with Walt Disney Co., which has bid $52 billion in stock.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon on Tuesday approved AT&T's buyout of Time Warner, rebuffing an attempt by U.S. President Donald Trump to block the takeover and potentially clearing the path for more such deals in a rapidly changing media industry.
It looks Comcast is determined to not let Disney have things their way with recent plans for their acquisition of Fox. The company faces quite an opponent in Disney, who still have a chance to match or top Comcast's offer. Purchasing Fox is a way to scale up.
The deal, if approved, would merge Comcast-owned Universal Studios and the NBC television network with Hollywood rival 20th Century Fox, Fox's cable entertainment networks and global TV businesses.
And the deal would come with Fox's stake in Hulu, the streaming service with 20 million viewers. Whichever company prevails would also control Fox's cable and worldwide TV businesses. Comcast said it is still committed to buying Sky; it will be a 100% owner of the company if the Fox deal comes through.
Disney itself has "surgically" structured a transaction that "might be doable", avoiding Fox Broadcasting and big Fox sports channels, US antitrust chief Makan Delrahim said last week. Comcast is bidding independently for the same stake, leaving Sky's fate uncertain. Comcast CFO Mike Cavanagh told investors Wednesday that the company stands behind its own Sky offer "independent of whatever happens to Fox".
Murdoch, 87, also wasn't swayed by Comcast's overtures partly because the cable company didn't offer a breakup fee. Those will be spun off into a new company. This new offer puts that situation in flux and promises to put Comcast and Disney at odds as they try and maneuver against each other for Fox's assets.
The move follows a previous bid being rebuffed a year ago. Disney and Fox did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Earlier this week, sources claimed that Comcast was keenly watching the AT&T legal battle with the Justice Department to see whether it would be able to acquire Time Warner.
AT&T and Time Warner together are some of the largest buyers of advertising around the globe, spending billions of dollars to market their products.
"We have reviewed the publicly available terms of the proposed Disney transaction, as well as the joint proxy statement/prospectus filed with the SEC describing the reasons for the Fox board of directors' decision", Roberts wrote. "He's a very persistent guy".