Comcast Gets Ready to Pounce

June 11, 2018

By Jim Roberts

The see-saw battle for the assets of 21st Century Fox may take another turn after Comcast said on Monday that it would make an all-cash bid for Fox’s assets if AT&T wins its legal fight to acquire Time Warner, according to a report by CNBC.

A federal judge in Washington is expected to rule Tuesday on AT&T’s $85 billion bid for Time Warner, which has been opposed by U.S. antitrust regulators. The government sought to block the acquisition, fearing that AT&T would use its control over Time Warner content to extract higher licensing payments for popular entertainment.

Those higher costs would likely be passed along to consumers.

Rupert Murdoch agreed in December to sell most of his 21st Century Fox media empire to Disney in a $52-billion all-stock deal.

In the deal, Disney agreed to buy the 20th Century Fox studio, Hulu, the FX cable network, and stakes in two overseas television-service providers, Sky of Britain and Star of India. The deal did not include the Fox broadcast network or Fox News.

But BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield told Cheddar exclusively that Murdoch was no longer set on selling to Disney.

Comcast, which previously made an all-stock bid for the company that Murdoch rebuffed, has suggested for some time that it would prepare an all-cash bid around $60 billion.

On Monday morning, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts told investors that the cable company was in the “advanced stages” of preparing an offer, pending the outcome of the AT&T-Time Warner antitrust suit.

According to CNBC, Comcast executives believe their company’s bid for Fox will put pressure on Disney's shares, putting pressure on Disney to raise the value of it’s all all-stock offer.