ibusinesslines.com
ibusinesslines.com August 17, 2018


Comcast challenges Disney with $65B United States bid for Fox

14 June 2018, 03:19 | Myron Mathis

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

Comcast readying new bid for 20th Century Fox film and TV assets

"Therefore, the ruling is likely to be a near-term negative catalyst for companies looking to acquire assets as bidding wars are becoming more probable due to the scarcity of assets". As reported by CNBC, the global telecommunications conglomerate was willing to offer $60B in cash for the Rupert Murdoch-founded company.

Nabila Ahmed, Deals reporter for Bloomberg News covering media and telecom mergers and acquisitions. The $85.4 billion merger was first put forth in October 2016, but a deal like this was met with intense scrutiny from regulators, as it will have major implications on the media landscape moving forward. Post-merger, AT&T rivals like Charter Communications and Cox, which now pay Time Warner for its channels, would suddenly also become AT&T's customers.

Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) offered $65 billion on Wednesday to lure Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (FOXA.O) away from a merger with Walt Disney Co (DIS.N), setting up a bidding war between two of the largest USA media companies with its 20 percent higher offer. Comcast said last month that its new offer would be at least as favorable to Fox shareholders as Disney's terms.

Hulu is now jointly controlled by Disney, Fox, and Comcast which each own a 30 percent share. The ruling suggests that Trump's Department of Justice wouldn't be able to stop a Comcast/Fox deal. Comcast's official counterbid now pressures Disney to come up with a higher offer for Fox - lest it have compelling entertainment assets slip through its hands at a time when technology giants are storming Hollywood, forcing traditional media companies to bulk up.

A merger between Fox and Comcast would create a company with a stable of well-known media brands and franchises, such as the X-Men superheroes. Comcast is now expected to make an aggressive bid for parts of Fox, which already has a deal to sell some of its entertainment assets to Disney.

"This was a defining case for antitrust enforcement in the United States", former Justice Department antitrust attorney Ketan Jhaveri said.

Comcast said it meant to pursue its $30 billion acquisition of Sky Plc (SKYB.L) in parallel with its Fox bid.

AT&T said the acquisition would give it access to content and advertising heft that would help it compete with online streaming firms, which have led to declines in pay-TV subscribers.


Murdoch, 87, also wasn't swayed by Comcast's overtures partly because the cable company didn't offer a breakup fee.

It could also threaten to withhold content from Time Warner channels, such as CNN, HBO or TNT, from rival services in order to gain a competitive advantage for AT&T's TV services.

The decision comes despite criticism from Trump, a frequent detractor of Time Warner's CNN and its coverage.

Both Disney and Comcast could use Fox's TV and movie properties to stream more content directly to consumers and compete with Netflix.

The US Department of Justice-the nation's antitrust authority-sued to block the deal late previous year, arguing that Time Warner's media brands like HBO, Warner Bros., and CNN would give AT&T outsized power, hurt competition, and lead to higher prices for consumers.

Disney and Fox did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The merger agreement will have no conditions imposed on it by the court.



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