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Comcast offers $65bn for Fox assets in bid to gazump Disney

Comcast has offered $65bn (?47bn) for 21st Century Fox's global entertainment assets, throwing down a challenge to Disney's $60bn bid in a move likely to prompt a fierce bidding war between the US giants.
Cable TV provider Comcast had been widely expected to make its formal all-cash offer, equal to $35 a share, today, after having last month said it was in the advanced stages of preparing the bid and given recent speculation that chairman and chief executive Brian Roberts was lining up financing for the deal.
It had previously approached Fox about a potential deal, back in November, but its efforts had been rebuffed and Fox had instead recommended an all-stock deal with Disney. 
However, Comcast refused to walk away, and had been closely watching the outcome of a court case in the US, in which the Trump administration was attempting to block Comcast rival AT&T's takeover of Time Warner. The case last night resulted in victory for the telecoms giant. 
The outcome, which has allayed fears among many companies that such deals would be blocked, is expected to spark a flurry of consolidation in the media industry, as companies battle the growing threat from technology companies.
At a glance | Comcast
Writing in a letter to Fox's Murdoch family, Comcast's Mr Roberts said that, in light of yesterday's court decision, as well as "the limited time prior to your shareholders' meeting, and our strong continued interest, we are pleased to present a new, all-cash proposal that fully addresses the board's stated concerns with our prior proposal". 
As part of the firm offer, Comcast has offered a $2.5bn termination fee, which Fox would receive if the deal ran into any regulatory trouble – something which had not been included in its earlier proposals – and also offered to pay the $1.5bn break-up fee Fox would have to pay Disney for that deal collapsing. 
Mr Roberts said he was "highly confident that our proposed transaction will obtain all the necessary regulatory approvals in a timely manner and that our transaction is as or more likely to receive regulatory approval than the Disney transaction".
Fox had accepted the Disney offer in December, although news of this Comcast counter-bid is likely to mean Disney will have to raise its all-stock offer. Shareholders in both Disney and Fox had been set to vote on the deal in the coming weeks. 
In response to the offer, Fox said it "has not yet made a determination, in light of Comcast’s proposal, as to whether it will postpone or adjourn the July 10, 2018 special meeting of stockholders to consider certain proposals related to the Disney merger agreement".
Comcast offers $65bn for Fox assets in bid to gazump Disney

Brian Roberts, chairman and chief executive of Comcast, also launched a bid to disrupt Fox’s takeover of Sky

Credit:
Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters
It comes just months after Comcast launched a formal attempt to gatecrash Fox's own deal to buy the remaining portion of Sky it did not already own, equal to 61pc of the pay-TV operator.
Included in the assets Comcast has made this most recent formal bid for are the 39pc of Sky that Fox currently owns, as well as Fox's film and television studios. 
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