With Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) confirming today that it's closing in on a cash bid for Fox (FOX, FOXA) media assets, Fox activist investor Chris Hohn says he'll back Comcast's bid over the $52.4B rival offer from Disney (NYSE:DIS). While the company said that "no final decision has been made", it said that "any offer for Fox would be all-cash and at a premium to the value of the current all-share offer from Disney". Murdoch, who with his family controls 21st Century Fox, agreed to the tie-up that would give Disney the famed Fox studios in Hollywood along with Fox's global TV operations and United States cable entertainment and regional sports channels.
At stake are such assets as FX Networks, National Geographic, a 30-percent stake in Hulu, and the 20th Century Fox film and television production studios, which include the movie rights for the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool.
The assets Disney agreed to buy in December excluded the Fox News channel and Fox Business Network to avoid the regulatory scrutiny that would come with a single company owning ESPN and several other TV networks.
"The work to finance the all-cash offer and make the key regulatory filings is well advanced".
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Rumours about Comcast's interests in Fox have circulated for weeks, but it is the first time it has confirmed its intentions. The U.S. Justice Department sued to stop the deal on antitrust grounds, saying that a combination of AT&T and HBO-owner Time Warner would be bad for consumers.
As many in the media business and on Wall Street had been predicting since word surfaced two weeks ago of Comcast meeting with bankers to line up financing, the NBCUniversal owner and No. 1 USA cable distributor said a rival bid is in the "advanced stages".
Looks like we may have a bidding war on our hands.
Fox declined to comment Wednesday.
Rumors about Comcast's move to outbid Disney began buzzing in February. "In addition, our directors, though, of course are aware of their fiduciary duties on behalf of all shareholders". According to Forbes, the former's offer could amount to about $60 billion. There are few other domestic or global companies with the revenues or profits that could meaningfully help Comcast grow through acquisitions, he said. "We have a terrific company with a strong portfolio of businesses and will continue to focus on driving growth, innovating, creating great content, and providing excellent experiences for our customers".