Is Comcast Preparing To Make Unsolicited Offer For Fox?

Posted May 09, 2018

With Brian Roberts already making a bid for Sky News, Comcast is now reportedly in talks with banks to make an all-cash offer that would throw a wrench in Disney's acquisition plans.

For both Comcast and Disney, acquiring the Fox (fox) assets would be a huge boon to the scale, reach, and branding of their business, equipping either company to better compete with increasingly consolidated rivals.

Comcast already owns NBC Universal, and it is also making a bid to take over all of Sky, a British broadcaster which it has a 39 percent stake in.

Comcast made a $31 billion bid for Sky on April 25th seeking to outbid Fox's agreed bid. Disney's $52 billion all-stock buy out of Fox's film, television, and global businesses was announced in December 2017 - one month after Comcast made a higher all-stock offer to buy the same assets.

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The Seven network recently cut a deal with Fox Sports which is owned by News Corporation to deliver the next five years of cricket coverage in Australia. Separately, the United States cable and programming giant has notified the European Commission of its bid for Sky, according to reports.

All in all, these deals have put Fox and Disney in precarious situations. But Disney would get 20th Century Fox's movie studio as well as Fox's cable and global broadcasters such as National Geographic, Sky and FX.

Murdoch agreed to sell USA entertainment assets - though not the highly profitable Fox News Channel - to Disney, rejecting a higher offer for those assets from Comcast. In doing so, it topped an earlier offer for the entirety of Sky by Fox.

Some analysts believe Comcast would have to suspend its share buyback program entirely if it was able to snatch Fox from Disney's jaws, although its dividend appears safe for now. Comcast already has a $30 billion bridge loan to finance its Sky offer. It is not clear how receptive he would be to an all-cash offer.