Comcast Makes Bid For 21st Century Fox In Big Hollywood Power Play

Carla Harmon
June 14, 2018

In December, Disney put forth a $52.4 billion all-stock offer for the Fox assets.

Like Disney, Comcast already controls a major television network (NBC), a motion picture studio (Universal Pictures), several animation studios (Illumination Entertainment, Dreamworks Animation) and a theme park empire (Universal Studios).

The two firms are also vying for ownership of Sky in the UK. He said Comcast's proposal is at least as likely to pass muster with regulators as Disney's. Now that the ruling has been made, we may soon see the fallout: sources say Comcast is preparing to make a move on Fox.

"I don't think either will have a significant advantage over the other", given that both Disney and Comcast seem motivated to divest what they need to win a deal with Fox, said Ketan Jhaveri, a former Justice Department attorney who served on the telecommunications task force.

The companies have until June 21 to close the merger, per their previously set deadline.

As part of the deal, Disney pledged to seek full ownership of Sky. For Disney, a successful Comcast bid could make Disney's planned streaming service less attractive, without the Fox video.

Comcast was in talks to buy Fox late a year ago. Should Comcast come out ahead in the Fox deal, Disney would stand to lose quite a bit, not only the Marvel franchises which Fox holds and remaining STAR WARS rights, but also a majority stake in Hulu.

If Comcast succeeds in its bid, it would become a massive media conglomerate with few rivals in America.

Hindsight, obviously, is 20/20, but in hindsight it is clear that consumers would have been better protected if the DoJ had reached a settlement allowing the merger but with conditions.

Judy, the decision comes nearly two years after AT&T first announced its plan to buy Time Warner, and just one week before the companies face a deadline to complete the merger. Indeed, the proposal unveiled on Wednesday include a US$2.5 billion termination fee. "The question is whether Disney is ready".

"We have reviewed the publicly available terms of the proposed Disney transaction, as well as the joint proxy statement/prospectus filed with the SEC describing the reasons for the 21CF Board of Directors' decision", Comcast said in announcing its new offer.

The tie-up with Disney would also carry a lower tax bill.

AT&T's Advertising and Analytics group, which the company has been assembling since it hired GroupM's Brian Lesser last August, is built on a three-legged stool of data, distribution and content, but it hasn't actually had the content in place to support the product. However, AT&T has argued that making such a deal would be necessary to compete against other tech companies. 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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