Comcast gatecrashes Disney deal with 21st Century Fox offer

Comcast launched a $65 billion takeover bid for some of the marquee assets of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, gatecrashing the media billionaire’s agreed deal with Walt Disney and setting the stage for a bidding war. The long-awaited proposal by Comcast, which had previously declared its intention to top a $52 billion stock offer from Disney, came a day after a federal judge rejected an attempt by US antitrust authorities to block AT&T’s purchase of media group Time Warner. Comcast said it would pay Fox shareholders $35 a share in cash for its film and television studios, cable entertainment networks, its stake in internet streaming company Hulu, as well as international holdings such as Star India and a 39 per cent stake in pan-European broadcaster Sky. The Philadelphia-based company led by Brian Roberts, chief executive, said that the offer amounted to a 19 per cent premium to the current value of Disney’s bid. The $65 billion offer is the largest all-cash bid ever made… Fox has $13.5 billion of net debt on its books. Media companies and telecommunications providers are racing to consolidate as they try to fend off competition from technology groups such as Netflix, Amazon and Google, in the battle for market share… Disney has five days to match Comcast’s offer… Analysts and investors fully expect it to return with a higher offer.
Eric Platt and Arash Massoudi