The proposed Disney/Fox acquisition just got a whole lot more interesting.
Comcast this morning confirmed its plan to make a rich counter-offer for the 21st Century Fox assets that Disney has proposed to acquire.
The move sets in motion what could be one of the biggest merger battles in media. Comcast chief Brian Roberts is set to battle Disney’s Bob Iger for control of the film and TV conglomerate that Rupert Murdoch and sons James and Lachlan spent years crafting. While Disney and Fox have agreed to a $52.4 billion deal, Comcast’s counter is believed to be in the (all cash) $60 billion range.
As many in the media industry and on Wall Street had been predicting since word began to spread of Comcast meeting with bankers to line up financing for the offer, the NBCUniversal owner and No. 1 U.S. cable distributor said a rival bid for the coveted assets is in the “advanced stages.”
Apparently, the trigger for this morning’s announcement, Comcast stated, was the filing of SEC documents by Fox and Disney in preparation for special shareholder meetings. The summer meetings are when 21st Century Fox and Disney shareholders are expected to vote on the proposed $52.4 billion acquisition of the Fox assets which would include Fox’s Marvel Properties, FX, National Geographic and more. Not included in the deal is the Fox broadcast network, Fox News and the company’s portfolio of local TV stations.
Comcast spoke about the matter in an official statement:
“Confirms that it is considering, and is in advanced stages of preparing, an offer for the businesses that Fox has agreed to sell to Disney. No final decision has been made, any offer for Fox would be all-cash and at a premium to the value of the current all-share offer from Disney. 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 favorable to Fox shareholders as the Disney offer.
It was last fall where Comcast had entered the bidding for Fox’s studio assets before Disney secured the acquisition in December. While the company has sound fundamentals, many financial analysts have questioned its strategy of going all-in for Fox given the amount of debt Comcast would take on. The company has also recently thrown its hat in the ring for European pay-TV giant Sky, offering $31 billion.
Keep it locked on Talkies Network for all the latest news surrounding the ongoing saga of the Disney/Fox merger.