Comcast Surprises No One With $65 Billion Bid for 21st Century Fox


Comcast has made no secret of its intent to acquire 21st Century Fox and, with the cable giant emboldened by AT&T's success, a formal acquisition offer is believed to be imminent.

The all-cash offer for Fox's movie and TV studios and other assets including the X-Men franchise, opens a war with Walt Disney Co, which has bid $52 billion in stock. Comcast, Disney and Fox all own interests in streaming giant Hulu, so either deal would boast a challenge to Netflix, although Disney plans to start its own separate streaming service in Fall 2019.

The Disney deal was proposed several months ago, but the Disney merger meeting was the time for it to be submitted for approval to stockholders.

But some experts urged caution in thinking that the DOJ's top antitrust official Makan Delrahim would allow a Comcast-Fox deal to go through unopposed.

Comcast sent a letter to the board of directors of 21st Century Fox, notifying them of the superior offer ahead of the planned July 10 vote on the Disney merger.

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On Tuesday night, shares of T-Mobile tmus and Sprint s , which are in the midst of a $26 billion merger, gained, even though they are direct competitors, not complementary players like AT&T and Time Warner. While the Department of Justice could still appeal, Comcast seems to believe the gateway is open and made a decision to go in with a heavy hand in regards to 21st Century Fox. (Again, AT&T's recent success seems to indicate that the government is fine with these huge acquisitions, so that may not be a factor.) Should Fox choose Comcast over Disney, Comcast will also pay Fox a $1.525 billion break-up fee that Fox would have to pay to Disney for backing out of their previous agreement. "The question is whether Disney is ready because unlike in 2004, Comcast is in it to win!"

Guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Roberts said he had been "disappointed" that Fox had entered into negotiations with Disney but was "highly confident" that his new offer would be approved by regulators. For instance, AT&T could charge other content providers (including Verizon, which owns HuffPost's parent company, Oath) artificially high prices to air the cable channels it acquired through Time Warner. It would also be the 12th largest deal in any sector, the data showed.

Using unusually strong language, Leon said it would be "manifestly unjust" for the government to ask him to put his own ruling on hold, because if he were to do so, it could have the effect of killing the deal, which has a deadline for completion of June 21. The ruling blesses the $85 billion merger, one of the biggest media deals ever. And Leon's decision is likely to trigger a wave of new mergers, as many executives were waiting to for the outcome of AT&T's bid before pushing forward with their desired deals.