Fox activist urges Murdoch to engage with Comcast on asset deal

Javier Stokes
May 25, 2018

The bidding war is over Fox assets - not including Fox News Channel or Fox Business Network - that Disney in December said it would purchase for Dollars 52.4 billion.

In a statement, Comcast (CCV) described the bid as one that will be "a premium to the value of the current all-share offer from Disney (DIS)". Fox agreed in December to sell its film and TV studios, cable channels including FX and National Geographic and other assets to Burbank, California-based Disney in an all-stock deal.

After the Justice Department sued to block AT&T (T) from buying CNN parent company Time Warner (TWC), a Disney-Fox or a Comcast-Fox deal would nearly certainly face antitrust scrutiny. Whilst much of the attention was on Disney getting access to Marvel characters it now doesn't have the screen rights too, for The Mouse, the bigger fish is Fox's share of Hulu, and Sky Television.

Those offers included the potential for Sky News to be owned by Disney - bypassing concerns that Rupert Murdoch's family would have too much control over United Kingdom media.

A potential transaction with either Disney or Comcast would not include the Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Broadcasting Company and certain other assets.

"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". "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 favourable to Fox shareholders as the Disney offer".

Comcast's stock was down almost 2 percent in early Wednesday trading at $31.88, near its 52-week low of $30.43. The company has also recently thrown its hat in the ring for European pay-TV giant Sky, offering $31 billion.

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Fox and Disney were not immediately available for comment.

However, Comcast formalized a bid for a majority stake last month as a challenge to Fox, leaving Sky's fate uncertain.

Rumours about Comcast's interests in Fox have circulated for weeks, but it is the first time it has confirmed its intentions. "It also opens up doors to own an even richer content library to counter heavyweights such as Netflix", he said.

There are a lot of movie and TV show properties up for grabs with the 21st Century Fox acquisition.

Sky's independent board, which had told shareholders to accept Murdoch's offer, withdrew that recommendation in light of Comcast's higher bid. The Justice Department sued to block the $85 billion merger of AT&T and Time Warnera year after the two companies agreed on the deal.

Comcast's announcement escalated a bidding war that was already underway in Europe for Fox's satellite business.

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