Comcast Outbids Disney For 20th Century Fox Assets

AT&T-Time Warner Merger Gets The Green Light From Federal Court

Can Bidding War Be Avoided?

Comcast, which also owns NBCUniversal, has already bid $31 billion for satellite TV broadcaster Sky, in which Fox holds a 39% stake.

While Comcast has made no secret of its desire to buy up Fox from the Murdoch clan, the chances of any deal actually going through were undercut by fears the merger would not be passed by government regulators.

The Justice Department argued that the merger between AT&T and Time Warner would introduce unfair advantages in the marketplace.

Most analysts had expected that District Judge Richard Leon would rule in favor of the companies and strike down a Justice Department's lawsuit to block the deal, which may have muted some of the immediate reaction.

The deal would include the FX Channel, a large number of additional regional sports networks, and a minority ownership stake in European pay TV provider Sky, all of which would be tacked on to Comcast's NBC Universal assets acquired back in 2011. Both Comcast and Disney are eager to buy Fox to bolster their positions in a changing industry.

When the FCC repealed net neutrality previous year, its chairman, Ajit Pai, argued that companies such as Comcast weren't investing in broadband deployment because of uncertainty caused by regulations.

Comcast fell 0.7% to 32 in after-hours trading on the stock market today while Disney slipped 0.3% to 105.90.

AT&T, a content distributor, first announced a deal in October 2016 that would let it acquire Time Warner, a content creator that counts HBO, Warner Bros. and cable network giant Turner Broadcasting among its biggest assets. So not only is Comcast's bid 19 percent higher, but it's in cold, hard cash, which is surely appealing to Fox. Following the outcome of the AT&T/Time Warner antitrust case, Comcast launched their own all-cash bid for Fox, which they claim is valued at about $65 billion, a little more than Disney's $52.4 billion offer.

Should the board decide Comcast has the better deal, Disney would have five days to come up with a counter.

A United States district court judge has cleared the merger of telecoms giant AT&T and media firm Time Warner, in a major defeat for government regulators.

"We are highly confident in our ability to finance the transaction, and our offer includes no financing-related conditions", Roberts said.

Comcast originally outbid Disney back in December of previous year, but Fox entered into a loose agreement with Disney largely partially because of fears about government regulations and antitrust concerns.

Like many media cable and media companies, Comcast has two classes of stock that vest extraordinary voting rights on its founding family.

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