Comcast to make a hostile bid for Fox assets?

Eileen GuzmanMay 09, 2018

Citing three unspecified sources "familiar with the matter", the news agency reports that Comcast CEO Brian Roberts sees an opening if us federal courts approve AT&T's $85b acquisition of Time Warner to go forward - a ruling is expected on that matter in June.

The judge is expected to deliver a decision on the AT&T-Time Warner deal in June, a ruling that determines Comcast's next move. After months of negotiation, they settled on a $52 billion acquisition, where Disney would acquire most of Fox's assets. The Comcast-Fox-Disney drama has also extended to the United Kingdom, where the three are involved in complicated merger drama involving Sky PLC.

Comcast didn't immediately respond to Philadelphia magazine's request for comment. With Brian Roberts already making a bid for Sky News, Comcast is now reportedly in talks with banks to make an all-cash offer that would throw a wrench in Disney's acquisition plans.

Comcast is racing to get ahead of Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox Inc in the battle to buy the European company, and the notification in Brussels is a key requirement. Indeed, now Comcast is offering 22 billion pounds (about $30 billion) to acquire 61 percent ownership of Sky. Disney, Fox, and Comcast each own 30 percent of Hulu; Time Warner owns the other 10 percent.

Comcast offered to acquire Fox's assets in an all-stock deal worth $64 billion, but likely for fear of anti-trust roadblocks, Fox went with Disney. Any such deal would also see Comcast acquire 100 per cent of Sky. Instead, Disney is now planning to acquire Fox's film, television and global businesses.

Comcast is one of the country's biggest pay-TV and internet-service providers, and it also owns NBCUniversal, giving it power up and down the industry chain - the same scale AT&T, a wireless carrier and pay-TV provider, is seeking in buying Time Warner.

KitGuru Says: While both buyouts are inherently monopolistic, Disney has the edge with its pre-established world that naturally connects to a variety of Fox's content.

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