Comcast Makes $65 Billion All-Cash Bid for Fox, Tops Disney's Offer

Comcast Makes $65 Billion All-Cash Bid for Fox, Tops Disney's Offer

Comcast Makes $65 Billion All-Cash Bid for Fox, Tops Disney's Offer

Following a report alleging as much yesterday, Comcast has officially placed a bid for 21st Century Fox, countering Disney's own effort to acquire the assets.

Comcast (CMCSA) launched a takeover bid for 21st Century Fox Entertainment (FOXA) on Wednesday, offering $65 billion in cash for Rupert Murdoch's entertainment company and at a 19% premium over Walt Disney's (DIS) offer. Fox shareholders are set to vote on the Disney bid on July 10.

Comcast's latest overture - the second it's made in the months since Disney first struck its initial agreement with Fox late a year ago - follows a court ruling earlier this week that cleared a path for another giant media merger between AT&T and Time Warner.

In the UK, Disney and Comcast are now battling to take over Sky plc, the owner of Sky News. Other similarities in the bids include a divestiture package that would see the selling off of Fox's regional sports networks or any part of the business representing pre-tax earnings of up to $500 million.

Still, the AT&T court fight gave Comcast valuable information about how to structure a Fox deal, said David Scharf, a litigation expert with Morrison Cohen.

"We have long admired what the Murdoch family has built at Twenty-First Century Fox", Comcast CEO Brian Roberts wrote Wednesday in a letter to Fox detailing the proposal.

Judy, the decision comes nearly two years after AT&T first announced its plan to buy Time Warner, and just one week before the companies face a deadline to complete the merger.

Comcast said in May it was in advanced stages of preparing a higher all-cash offer for Fox's assets but did not indicate the value of its bid.

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Disney reached an agreement in principle to purchase Fox's film and television properties, as well as its stake in streaming platform Hulu and European news outlet Sky, for $52.4 billion in stock.

The cable conglomerate also said that it had already tendered its Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust filing with the Justice Department, and it expects the DOJ's antitrust review process to flow congruently with that which has been scheduled for Disney. Reuters reported last November that both Comcast and Verizon Communications Inc had expressed interest in buying Fox's assets.

Comcast earlier this year made an offer of $30.7 billion in cash for Sky, in a move welcomed by the British firm.

Shares of Fox rose more than 7%, while Comcast sank about 3%. It excludes the Fox Broadcasting Network.

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

And the AT&T-Time Warner deal is not necessarily yet in the clear.

John Bergmayer of the consumer group Public Knowledge said any Comcast deal should face scrutiny, especially in light of the expiration of provisions from its 2011 takeover of NBCU.

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

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