Comcast prepares to duel with Disney over Rupert Murdoch's company — Fox hunt

Sergio Cunningham
May 10, 2018

The all-stock Disney deal involves the sale of the Twentieth Century Fox TV and film studio, cable networks including FX and National Geographic, worldwide businesses including Fox's 39% stake in European pay TV company Sky PLC, and a stake in the streaming business Hulu. It is vying with Disney, the $152 billion film, television and theme parks conglomerate, to buy most of 21st Century Fox, the $69 billion media company run by the Murdoch family. "I can only say, reiterate that we made a deal in December that received unanimous approval, which is important, by the 21st Century Fox board", said Iger.

It is speculated that once and if a federal judge rules in Comcast's favor regarding the AT&T-Time Warner acquisition, that Comcast will then focus on 21st Century Fox.

Comcast hasn't yet decided whether to proceed with a hostile bid.

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Murdoch, the chairman of Fox as well as the U.K.'s Sky, was expected to take up a senior executive position at Disney if and when the deal closed. Once seen as a sure thing purchase by The Walt Disney Company, with Comcast talking to investment banks about putting in a bid for 21st Century Fox, Disney's acquisition of 21st Century Fox is now in peril. Comcast's offer was a 16% premium to Disney's, according to a securities filing and people close to the deal talks.

Lachlan Murdoch now serves as executive co-chairman of 21st Century Fox.

That being said, should the Time Warner and AT&T amalgamation pass, pending government approval, of course, in addition to 21st Century Fox, Comcast would also acquire United Kingdom satellite TV provider Sky - which would see the global telecommunications conglomerate's bid reach the $100B mark. The cable company's chief financial officer, Michael Cavanagh, said on an earnings call late last month that Comcast was unlikely to use its stock to make deals.

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