Back in December, Disney announced a multi-billion dollar deal it planned to make with Fox that would see the magical company obtained major entertainment assets such as film and TV studios, movies like X-Men and Deadpool, and even shows such as The Simpsons and The Americans. It was assumed the Walt Disney-founded company would be the only party interested in acquiring Fox’s assets until reports began surfacing suggesting Comcast wanted to throw its hat in the ring as well. Now, we’re hearing these rumors were legitimate.
According to a statement issued by the company, Comcast plans to make an all-cash offer worth more than Disney’s that could hopefully convince Fox to sell its assets to the Philadelphia-based corporation. The full statement can be found below.
In view of the recent filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission by The Walt Disney Company (“Disney”) and Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. (“Fox”) in preparation for their upcoming shareholder meetings to consider the acquisition of Fox by Disney, Comcast Corporation (“Comcast”) confirms that it is considering, and is in advanced stages of preparing, an offer for the businesses that Fox has agreed to sell to Disney (which do not include the Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Broadcasting Company and certain other assets). Any offer for Fox would be all-cash and at a premium to the value of the current all-share offer from Disney. The structure and terms of any offer by Comcast, including with respect to both the spin-off of “New Fox” and the regulatory risk provisions and the related termination fee, would be at least as favorable to Fox shareholders as the Disneyoffer.
While no final decision has been made, at this point the work to finance the all-cash offer and make the key regulatory filings is well advanced.
If you recall, Disney originally offered Fox a stock-only $52.4 billion deal which is still scheduled to be voted on by shareholders come this summer. While we don’t have a number for Comcast’s potential offer, it’s clear opting for a cash-only deal could make things a bit more attractive for the NBCUniversal owner.
Still, considering the vote to allow Disney to acquire Fox’s entertainment assets is coming up so soon, it’s unclear how much time Comcast really has to win Fox over. The latter originally blocked the former from buying anything due to antitrust concerns so these restraints may still be in place. We’ll have to let this one ride before we can rule anything out.