Published: Wed, May 09, 2018
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Comcast Tries to Pluck 21st Century Fox From Disney

Comcast Tries to Pluck 21st Century Fox From Disney

In a move that could topple Disney out of the running, USA cable operator Comcast has reportedly held talks with American banks to secure around $60bn in financing for a hostile bid for 21st Century Fox Inc.'s entertainment and global assets, according to Reuters.

The Walt Disney Company agreed a US$52.4bn stock deal for 21st Century Fox assets including its film and TV studios, USA cable networks and worldwide channels in one of the biggest media stories of 2017. A decision in the AT&T-Time Warner case is expected June 12. This deal would give Disney, already one of the most powerful media companies on the planet, the rights to various valuable intellectual properties and channels.

Comcast is not taking the Disney-21st Century Fox merger lying down.

Comcast and Fox declined to comment. While investigations were underway due to antitrust concerns, it looks like competition might be gearing up from Comcast Corp, which is reportedly ready to pay $60bn "all-cash offer" for access to the same assets.

Reuters reports that Comcast is speaking with investment bankers about obtaining bridge financing for an all-cash offer.

Comcast may buy 21st Century Fox instead of Disney, but what does this mean - and is either outcome actually good for audiences? Earlier this year, Comcast, who already own NBC and Universal Studios, made their intentions known that they were planning an effort to outbid the House of Mouse for Fox, even though Fox had already denied Comcast's offer in favor of Disney's. Indeed, now Comcast is offering 22 billion pounds (about $30 billion) to acquire 61 percent ownership of Sky. Murdoch was concerned about the reaction of Washington regulators to a deal with Comcast.

But regulatory fears could wane if a federal judge allows AT&T acquire HBO-owner Time Warner Inc. Iger is astutely preserving Disney's balance sheet, while Comcast is going all in on the debt option, the way most other dealmakers are lately. (NYSE: DIS), which in December said it would take control of Fox's film, TV and worldwide businesses in an all-stock transaction.

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