Wall Street Bracing For a Disney/Comcast Bidding War Over 21st Century Fox

Wall Street Bracing For a Disney/Comcast Bidding War Over 21st Century Fox

Wall Street Bracing For a Disney/Comcast Bidding War Over 21st Century Fox

Comcast on Wednesday said it has submitted a $65 billion, all-cash bid to acquire film and television assets from 21st Century Fox, setting up a direct clash with the Walt Disney Company and its pending acquisition of the same properties.

That decision had widely been interpreted as a signal that Comcast would make a play for Fox, which is now negotiating a merger with Walt Disney. With AT&T's victory over the DOJ, it seems likely that Comcast will put together its bid for Fox quickly. The assets at stake include the Fox film studio (which owns the Avatar franchise, the film rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four and the original Star Wars), its TV studio, its cable networks and its stake in Hulu.

It became possible when Rupert Murdoch, 87, and his son made a decision to slim down the media empire, leaving them with a "New Fox" that includes the Fox News Channel, the Fox broadcast network and sports cable operations. That would be Rupert Murdoch, the largest shareholder of Fox.

The offer is the first of many expected to follow Tuesday's federal court ruling giving the go-ahead to AT&T to buy Time Warner.

"We have reviewed the publicly available terms of the proposed Disney transaction, as well as the joint proxy statement/prospectus filed with the SEC describing the reasons for the 21CF Board of Directors' decision", Comcast said in announcing its new offer. Disney already owns broadcaster ABC.

The move follows a previous bid being rebuffed a year ago.

Comcast in a statement outlined an offer that was similar to Disney's, including a commitment to the same divestitures. It excludes the Fox Broadcasting Network.

Comcast re-entered the picture last month when it said publicly that it was preparing a bid for Fox. They own a 17-percent stake and would face a multi-billion dollar capital gains tax bill if he accepted an all-cash offer from Comcast, tax experts have told Reuters.

Both deals share similarities: AT&T and Comcast are distributors trying to buy content creators.

Comcast said it is confident it will win regulatory approval and that its new offer "fully addresses" the stated concerns.

Comcast originally outbid Disney back in December of previous year, but Fox entered into a loose agreement with Disney largely partially because of fears about government regulations and antitrust concerns. Despite Comcast's higher offer, it's not immediately clear whether Fox's board would entertain it.

Comcast if successful would be able to expand beyond U.S. borders to new markets in Europe and India.

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