Comcast Readying Cash Bid to Upend Fox-Disney Deal

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Reports suggest that United States media giant Comcast is planning an all-cash bid of $60 billion (€50bn) for most of 21st Century Fox's assets, dependent on whether the U.S. administration approves AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts plans to table a bid only if a federal judge allows AT&T Inc's planned $85-billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc to proceed, the report said.

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According to the report, Comcast will only make a move on Fox if AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner is greenlit.

Comcast offered to acquire Fox's assets in an all-stock deal worth $64 billion, but likely for fear of anti-trust roadblocks, Fox went with Disney. That opened the door to Comcast's counteroffer. Either way, the Fox shareholders would still have to approve any deal. Comcast's stock fell 5.5 percent Tuesday to $30.59 in response to the news. Disney (dis) and Fox alluded to regulatory complexities associated with a potential Comcast buy-out in explaining why Disney's lower offer was accepted. 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.

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Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger secured an all-stock deal with Fox Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch in December. The EC has the power to clear Comcast's £22 billion bid with or without conditions or it can kick off a four-month investigation if it has concerns about the deal. "If they acquire both and remain integrated, it would change our thesis (Cable would be less than 50% of the value); however, it would be hard not to be excited about a phenomenal Cable asset coupled with a global content powerhouse, trading at 9x FCF". Reuters reported that Comcast is lining up financing for a bid, but waiting for a decision to come down in the antitrust trial involving AT&T Inc.'s proposed purchase of Time Warner Inc.

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