Comcast ups its offer, Disney's move next — Fox takeover


The company said Wednesday that it's preparing to top Disney's bid for most of 21st Century Fox with an all-cash offer. It's widely assumed that a superior rival offer for the Fox media assets came from Comcast earlier this spring, but that Fox preferred the lower regulatory risk of selling to Disney.

It comes as no surprise to learn that Comcast have officially announced they are ready to come back in and try and take Fox from under the noses of Disney. It seems Comcast is not willing to give up so easily on its mission to spoil Disney's big plans - which could include, among many other significant results, a merging of the MCU and Fox's X-Men universe.

Comcast, owner of NBC and Universal Pictures, has also separately made a 22 billion pound ($30 billion) offer to acquire the 61-percent stake in European pay-TV group Sky Plc (SKYB.L) that Fox does not already own. Comcast has said it can deal with the debt and would bring it down quickly.

Wall Street investors had a clear but somewhat muted reaction to the news. "Which means that shareholders should see parity in compensation should the deal be broken up because of government regulation", Chong added.

He wants Murdoch and company to engage with Comcast on an offer.

As many in the media business and on Wall Street had been predicting since word surfaced two weeks ago of Comcast meeting with bankers to line up financing, the NBCUniversal owner and No. 1 US cable distributor said a rival bid is in the "advanced stages".

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The $90 billion that Comcast would borrow to do the deals concerns Amobi.

Comcast and Disney could face harsh scrutiny from Justice Department antitrust lawyers because they already own substantial entertainment assets.

Comcast, the biggest cable operator in the U.S., also owns TV and movie producer NBC Universal. In play are the Fox film and TV studios and a lucrative set of cable networks, including FX, National Geographic and regional sports operations. Disney also is interested in owning Sky. The acquisition would not include some key Fox assets, including Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network and the Fox Broadcasting Company. In addition, Disney would have big market positions in children's shows and animated movies.

The battle between Comcast and Disney isn't just limited to the Fox assets either. A court ruling is expected in June.

"It all depends on the AT&T and Time Warner deal", said Brian Weiser, analyst at Pivotal Research. Should AT&T get the green light without orders of a major, deal-breaking divestment, sources close to Comcast have reportedly said it will move once again on Fox. This would open the door to Comcast/Fox, they say.

"If AT&T/Time Warner doesn't happen then Comcast-Fox doesn't happen", Wieser said.