Comcast Announces It's Prepared to Outbid Disney For Key Fox Assets

Rupert Murdoch

Comcast Announces It's Prepared to Outbid Disney For Key Fox Assets

Comcast says the proposed offer is in "advanced stages".

The cable giant, which owns NBCUniversal, had in December bowed out of the bidding process just before Fox accepted the Disney deal, which includes the 20th Century Fox movie and TV studio, all the global pay TV properties including its stake in Sky, as well as a number of other assets.

Joseph added that Comcast's offer is expected to be at a financial premium to Disney's, and as such "Fox is in a good position either ways". 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 USA, and the FS1 Sports network, as part of a new company spun off from 21st Century Fox.

Comcast did not detail the exact value of its bid Wednesday, though sources have previously told CNN that the offer would be worth about $60 billion. Disney's stock was down 1 percent, while Fox shares were up 0.9 percent.

The Comcast deal would include Fox's 39% stake in European TV company Sky. "With Comcast already going after Sky assets in Europe, this would be a logical and aggressive move to go after these golden entertainment assets of Fox and would move Comcast to the forefront of the streaming game potentially over the coming years".

Disney's tentative deal to acquire 21st Century Fox's assets was finalized back in December, but was thrown in limbo while the House of Mouse awaits governmental regulatory approval.

It seems Comcast isn't eager to let Disney get their hands on entertainment giant 21st Century Fox. Comcast said it would offer to buy the same assets after the spinoff of what has been dubbed "New Fox". But in its most recent earnings call, co-executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch said that "we are committed to our agreement with Disney" and that board member "are aware of their fiduciary duties on behalf of all shareholders".

Comcast won approval on Monday from the United Kingdom government to move ahead with the offer for Sky. More than a decade ago, as the newly installed CEO and the son of Comcast founder Ralph Roberts, he spearheaded an unsolicited $52 billion offer for Disney in 2004, well before NBCUniversal had entered the fold. Fox, which already owns a minority stake in Sky, is attempting to purchase the rest and has agreed to sell any Sky stake to Disney as part of its acquisition. The government worries that AT&T, as DirecTV's owner, could charge Comcast and other rival distributors higher prices for Time Warner channels like CNN or HBO. Moreover, as cord cutting grows in the USA, and consumer media consumption habits change, the market will continue to see more big deals that strive to insulate players from industry disruption.

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