The Mouse House isn’t home and dry yet – US TV giant Comcast has announced plans to top Disney’s $52 billion bid for 21st Century Fox with a “superior” all-cash offer.
Word is the company is in “advanced stages” of preparing its rival bid for the entertainment and broadcast assets that Fox recently agreed to sell to Disney. It’s said to be a slightly different proposal than the $60bn bid rejected by Rupert Murdoch late last year, at which point the media mogul cited regulatory concerns and share structure for his decision.
Comcast already owns NBCUniversal, so Murdoch was likely concerned that a potential merger between Fox and the cable giant would allow it to hold an unfair monopoly over the TV landscape. It’s already tabled a $31bn bid for European pay TV giant Sky, in which Fox owns a 39 percent stake, though it remains to be seen whether Comcast’s potential acquisition of Fox and its many entertainment assets will progress.
Comcast Corporation confirms that it is considering, and is in advanced stages of preparing, an offer for the businesses that Fox has agreed to sell to Disney (which do not include the Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Broadcasting Company and certain other assets). Any offer for Fox would be all-cash and at a premium to the value of the current all-share offer from Disney. The structure and terms of any offer by Comcast, including with respect to both the spin-off of ‘New Fox’ and the regulatory risk provisions and the related termination fee, would be at least as favorable to Fox shareholders as the Disney offer.
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At the time of writing, Comcast is yet to make a final decision on whether to make a formal offer, though it should be noted that negotiations are in an advanced stage.
The company’s statement continues:
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.
Should Comcast decide to move forward, it could spark a bona fide bidding war between the US cable giant and Disney, which hopes to allow Marvel Studios to integrate the likes of Deadpool, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four into the MCU in the not-so-distant future. On the ground level, though, Ryan Reynolds believes it’ll still be business as usual for his on-screen mercenary, regardless of how things shake out. And that is probably the most reassuring thing of all…