Comcast making move to prevent Disney deal for 21st Century Fox assets

Comcast making move to prevent Disney deal for 21st Century Fox assets

Comcast making move to prevent Disney deal for 21st Century Fox assets

Comcast said Wednesday it was considering an all-cash bid for most of 21st Century Fox's assets to outbid Disney's previously announced offer.

The bidding war is over Fox assets - not including Fox News Channel or Fox Business Network - that Disney in December said it would purchase for Dollars 52.4 billion. It said that any offer it makes will be all cash (Disney's deal is for shares of stock) and would be at a unspecified premium to Disney's deal.

Whichever company prevails in the bid for Fox would also control Fox's cable and worldwide TV businesses, though the Fox television network and some cable channels including Fox News and Fox Business Network would stay with Murdoch.

Comcast and Disney have been butting heads with other over certain aspects of the Fox deal, specifically the acquisition of Fox's European television company Sky. Whilst much of the attention was on Disney getting access to Marvel characters it now doesn't have the screen rights too, for The Mouse, the bigger fish is Fox's share of Hulu, and Sky Television.

Fox would retain the Fox Broadcasting Company, its owned TV stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business and national cable sports networks. Disney wouldn't get all that Fox has to offer, however, as Murdoch would still run the Fox News channel, the Fox broadcast network in the US, and the FS1 Sports network, as part of a new company spun off from 21st Century Fox.

"While no final decision has been made, at this point the work to finance the all-cash offer and make the key regulatory filings is well advanced", Comcast said in a statement.

Comcast further claims their offer would be "at least as favorable" to Fox's shareholders as Disney's offer. The stock declined 2.1% to $31.82 in early trading on Tuesday.

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It seems Comcast isn't eager to let Disney get their hands on entertainment giant 21st Century Fox.

A counterbid would roil a plan by Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger to bolster the company's dominance in entertainment. The businesses at stake also include the 21st Century Fox film and television studios. Of course, Comcast courted Fox once before, in November, with an all-stock proposal that was actually more generous than Disney's.

"If Comcast formalizes a superior all-cash offer, we would support that offer over the current Disney offer", TCI founder Christopher Hohn said in the letter.

There's also the small matter of needing Fox shareholders' approval for any deal to go through. The Department of Justice has sued to block AT&T's $85 billion deal for Time Warner.

However, Comcast formalized a bid for a majority stake last month as a challenge to Fox, leaving Sky's fate uncertain.

Updated May 23, 2018, with more details about another Comcast offer.

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