Well, that escalated quickly.
Last month, the proposed acquisition of 21st Century Fox by The Walt Disney Company was cast in doubt when rival contender Comcast returned to battle. Although, at the time, it was believed that Fox Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch preferred Disney stock and Comcast didn’t pose that significant of a threat. Oh, how wrong we were.
Yesterday, CEO Brian Roberts told investors that Comcast is in the “advanced stages” of preparing a bid for 21st Century Fox – an offer dependent on the ruling in the AT&T-Time Warner anti-trust case. Well, earlier today, Judge Richard Leon cleared the $85 billion tender, effectively allowing AT&T to absorb Time Warner.
Naturally, it wasn’t long before Comcast unveiled its $65 billion all-cash offer for the rights to intellectual properties owned by 21st Century Fox – including Deadpool, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men – that’ll hinge on the shareholder meeting scheduled to take place on July 10th, where the Fox board of directors will put the pending Disney acquisition to a vote.
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Remarkably, however, it doesn’t appear that Comcast is willing to take the risk, as the global telecommunications conglomerate took the fight directly to 21st Century Fox shareholders in a 43-page proxy solicitation, “urging them to reject the Disney merger” in favour of their more lucrative offer.
According to Deadline, CEO Brian Roberts “pointed to the lengthy track record of Comcast” and their positioning “not only as a higher offer but a more logical one.”
“These are highly strategic and complementary assets. We are in our minds the right buyer with the superior proposal and as much or better certainty and commitments and safeguards for Fox and the Fox board that are the same as those provided by Disney.”
Fox has since issued a statement saying they haven’t decided whether or not to suspend the aforementioned July 10th shareholder meeting in light of the new bid, but as soon as we learn more on this situation, we’ll be sure to let you know.