Comcast bids for Murdoch's Fox assets in Disney challenge

Comcast bids for Murdoch's Fox assets in Disney challenge

As reported by CNBC, the global telecommunications conglomerate was willing to offer $60B in cash for the Rupert Murdoch-founded company. "The question is whether Disney is ready because unlike in 2004, Comcast is in it to win!"

The firm's promises include a $2.5bn fee for Fox if it decides against the takeover.

Shares of 21st Century Fox rose more than 7% in early trading Wednesday after a Federal judge ruled AT&T could buy Time Warner for $85.4 billion, largely seen as a positive sign for future mergers.

Variety is reporting that Comcast has offered $65 billion for 21st Century Fox's TV and studio assets, significantly topping Disney's bid by $12.6 billion - a substantial margin.

The proposed acquisition of Time Warner by AT&T was what's known as a "vertical merger", the integration of two companies in different areas of the economy. It's unclear at the present time if Fox will stick with the Disney deal or start a potential bidding war. Comcast said last month that its new offer would be at least as favorable to Fox shareholders as Disney's terms.

Shares of Comcast, Fox and Disney were barely changed in after-hours trade.

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Comcast is expected to lead a wave of traditional media companies trying to combine distribution and production to compete with Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) and Alphabet Inc's (GOOGL.O) Google.

Fox, which is led by Rupert Murdoch and his sons, rejected an offer from Comcast a year ago, citing concerns that antitrust officials would oppose a deal.

Disney CEO Bob Iger has repeatedly denied to comment on the deal itself, citing the ongoing regulatory process, but has expressed excitement about his company's plan for how to integrate the assets.

Fox issued a statement saying it's still evaluating its next steps and hasn't decided whether to suspend the scheduled July 10 shareholder meeting to vote on the Disney deal, in the wake of Comcast's rival bid for most of its film and television assets. Plus, he called out franchises like Deadpool, Avatar, X-Men, Simpsons and Family Guy, as well as cable networks such as FX and National Geographic, which would give the company an enviably deep bench.

"We look forward to closing the merger on or before June 20", a day before the contractual deadline with Time Warner, said David McAtee, AT&T general counsel. In more recent times, sources claimed Comcast was putting together a $60 billion bid.

But Salil K. Mehra, a professor at Temple's Beasley School of Law and an expert on antitrust, said "this is a fearless new world in which leverage issues and the data collection on individuals make it harder to predict what will happen".

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It could also threaten to withhold content from Time Warner channels, such as CNN, HBO or TNT, from rival services in order to gain a competitive advantage for AT&T's TV services.

Initially AT&T and Time Warner planned to use a "selective enforcement" defense, alleging that the administration was blocking the deal because of Trump's dislike of CNN.

Regulators in this country also have cleared Comcast's $30.7bn offer for the 61% of Sky that Mr Murdoch does not own. It also offered to pay Fox's $1.525 billion breakup fee owed Disney, if Fox went with Comcast.

Comcast first approached Fox a year ago with an informal proposal.

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