A full-fledged bidding war for key assets of Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox erupted Wednesday as media and cable giant Comcast announced it plans an all-cash bid that would top an existing offer from Walt Disney Co.
Sources familiar with the matter told Reuters earlier this month that Comcast was working on financing for a cash offer worth as much as $60 billion for the Fox assets, but Wednesday's statement was the first formal confirmation by the company. Disney already plans to buy Sky TV as part of the deal for Fox, but United Kingdom regulators have said they don't see any public interest concerns with Comcast's offer. Murdoch, who with his family controls 21st Century Fox, agreed to the tie-up that would give Disney the famed Fox studios in Hollywood along with Fox's global TV operations and USA cable entertainment and regional sports channels. After Fox made a takeover offer for the 61 percent stake in Sky that it doesn't already own, Comcast launched a 22 billion pound ($30 billion) counterbid for the business. Whilst much of the attention was on Disney getting access to Marvel characters it now doesn't have the screen rights too, for The Mouse, the bigger fish is Fox's share of Hulu, and Sky Television.
The offer would be in all cash but does not include the Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Broadcasting Company and certain other assets. Fox's Executive Chairman Lachlan Murdoch said earlier this month that the company was committed to its agreement with Disney. "The structure and terms of any offer by Comcast ... would be at least as favourable to Fox shareholders as the Disney offer".
Comcast shares were down 2 percent at $31.83 while Disney was down 0.7 percent at $103.26 in premarket trading.
CNBC notes that, while Comcast plans to outbid Disney, Fox's owners may ultimately side with the latter, due to an offer for a tax-free spin off of the company. Separately, Comcast received preliminary consideration from a United Kingdom government official to pursue an effort to buy Sky for $31 billion.
Jacksonville leading state in growth, according to Census Bureau
Past year it grew by more than a third of its population, making it the fastest-growing city, town or village in Florida. That's up 240,177 in a year and the No. 3 increase nationally - or 0.61 percent growth - 21 fastest out of 50 states.
Not interested in being best in history says footballer Lionel Messi
Despite his 14th season at Barcelona coming to and end, the Argentine legend has zero desire to wear any other shirt. The fact that we've been in three finals and failed to become champions in all of them is a heavy burden we bear.
Kroger Turns to UK Online Grocer to Lift Its Digital Business
The good news for OCDGF stock is that the company is now the exclusive grocery delivery service for Kroger in the U.S. As part of this agreement, KR is increasing its investment in the company by 5%.
"Comcast does seem intent on winning this one". Of course, Comcast courted Fox once before, in November, with an all-stock proposal that was actually more generous than Disney's.
"It all depends on the AT&T and Time Warner deal", said Brian Wieser, analyst at Pivotal Research. "If that goes through it is highly possible there will more than one bid for Fox". He also accepted the rationale that Comcast or Disney had to grow bigger to compete globally and with streamers.