Comcast bids for Murdoch's Fox assets in Disney challenge

AT&T-Time Warner Merger Gets The Green Light From Federal Court

Here’s why the AT&T-Time Warner merger just got approved

Comcast's offer is expected to be matched by Disney, with a potential bidding war to follow.

There have been persistent reports that Comcast, which owns the majority of NBC Universal, would make an offer to Murdoch and Fox's board that included more cash and less stock than Disney was offering.

The bid sets up a fight with Disney, which announced its own plan to acquire those businesses previous year.

Comcast and Disney say Fox would bring original material and global reach that can help them compete.

We have long admired what the Murdoch family has built at Twenty-First Century Fox. The bid comes just a day after a federal judge cleared AT&T's takeover of Time Warner and rejected the government's argument that it would hurt competition in cable and satellite TV and jack up costs to consumers for streaming TV and movies.

Culture Secretary Matt Hancock said Fox's proposal to divest Sky News to Disney - or any other suitable buyer - is likely to be the most effective way to tackle any public interest concerns. Disney previously agreed to pay $US52.4 billion ($69 billion) for the media company, and that offer was entirely in stock.

When the FCC repealed net neutrality previous year, its chairman, Ajit Pai, argued that companies such as Comcast weren't investing in broadband deployment because of uncertainty caused by regulations.

Even if Fox moves forward with Comcast's latest offer, it turns out that the Marvel Cinematic Universe could still end up with the coveted comic book heroes that Fox owns.

The Justice Department filed the suit in November alleging that AT&T would be able to hike rates of its premium channel packages and wrangle higher retransmission fees of Time Warner networks such as Cartoon Network, TBS and CNN from competing pay-TV services. Comcast will reportedly prepare and $60 billion all-cash offer, which they intend to offer in the next 24 to 48 hours, according to BTIG Analyst Rich Greenfield. However, if Fox does back out of their proposed deal with Disney in favour of Comcast, they would owe ol' Mickey a breakup fee of $1.52 billion.

Image: Disney also wants to buy Fox.

Comcast in a statement outlined an offer that was similar to Disney's, including a commitment to the same divestitures. Disney and Fox did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Time Warner shares are up about 5% at $100.91. Comcast's new play extends the still-developing saga for the fate of 21st Century Fox, so stay tuned for more updates on how this all will eventually shake out.

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