Comcast confirms plan to outbid Disney for Fox assets

Comcast confirms plan to outbid Disney for Fox assets
Published: 24 May 2018 - 5:28 a.m.
By: Pranav Vadehra

In a statement issued on Wednesday May 23, Comcast confirmed that the cable company is “considering, and is in advanced stages of preparing, an offer for the businesses that Fox has agreed to sell to Disney. Any offer for Fox would be all-cash and at a premium to the value of the current all-share offer from Disney.”

Comcast said its offer for Fox "would be at least as favorable to Fox shareholders as the Disney offer." Any deal is expected to be around the $60 billion range, to counter the $52.4 billion deal previously agreed by Disney and Fox.

The Comcast move may have been triggered by the filing of SEC documents by Fox and Disney in preparation for special shareholder meetings where 21st Century Fox and Disney shareholders were expected to vote on their merger deal.

The Fox assets do not include the Fox News, Fox Business Network, Fox Broadcasting Company and certain other assets of Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox empire.

Separately Comcast has already made a competing $31 billion bid for British satellite giant Sky whose 39% share owned by Fox was also part of the Disney deal. After reviewing the deal, a British regulators have made an intitial statement saying the government is unlikely to challenge a Comcast/Sky merger.

Comcast had been expected by many industry watchers to compete with Disney for the other Fox assets in the Disney-Fox merger deal. However, most analysts expected Comcast would have waited to see the outcome of the pending AT&T-Time Warner merger, stuck for regulatory approval. News of the impending bid suggests Comcast is confident of a favorable ruling.

Control of streaming service Hulu would be in the hands of Comcast should such a deal go through. Fox's 30-percent stake in Hulu is included in the Disney deal. With Comcast already owning 30 percent of Hulu, any deal between the cable giant and Fox would give Comcast majority control over the popular streaming video service.

Comcast also mentioned in its statement that,"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."

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