Fox stock jumps after report that Comcast is preparing to battle Disney for megadeal
09 May, 2018, 00:55
According to Reuters, Comcast has asked investment banks to extend a debt facility to the company by as much as US$60 billion, enabling it to make a cash offer for the parts of Fox that Disney is preparing to purchase for US$52 billion.
Disney's $52 billion all-stock buy out of Fox's film, television, and worldwide businesses was announced in December 2017 - one month after Comcast made a higher all-stock offer to buy the same assets.
As if this tangle of bids and counter-bids could be any more complicated, Reuters says that Comcast's head honcho, Brian Roberts, will only pull the trigger on the Fox deal if a federal judge green-lights AT&T Inc's (NYSE:T) planned US$85bn acquisition of Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX). The outcome of the case, which is expected to be announced in June, will determine whether or not Comcast makes the bid. That opened the door to Comcast's counteroffer. If the Disney buyout goes through, Marvel will get Fox's characters, like the X-Men and Fantastic Four, back without any issues.
Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch had spurned an offer from Comcast at the time, even though it was 16% higher on a per share basis, because it didn't offer a breakup fee should regulators nix the deal. By purchasing most of their film and TV outlets - including channels like Fox Sports and FX, and franchises like the X-Men and Avatar movies - Disney would become arguably the dominant force in American and global media.
For those unaware, Comcast was another corporate entity that proposed to acquire 21st Century Fox past year.
Comcast's stock has dropped since then, from around $38 to about $32 now, giving the company a market capitalization of $149 billion.
The buyout would include Fox channels including FX and Nat Geo, among others, but would not involve Fox News, Fox Business Network, Fox Sports 1 or 2, the Big Ten Network or the Fox broadcasting network and stations.
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