Wasting no time after yesterday’s ruling on the AT&T and Time Warner merger, Comcast has offered 21st Century Fox $65 billion for the assets it intends to sell The Walt Disney Corporation.
Deadline reports the new offer, like the previous one, is an all-cash deal to purchase “much of Fox’s film and television assets, its international holdings and its stake in the streaming service, Hulu.” Disney’s $52 billion offer is a stock trade deal.
Comcast has long been a suitor for Fox’s media assets, which does not include the Fox broadcast network, Fox News, or its cable sports holdings. When news of the Fox/Disney merger first emerged last Fall, Comcast quickly appeared as a potential buyer. At the time, many believed Fox boss Rupert Murdoch preferred the Disney deal because it would have an easier time making its way through the regulatory challenges Comcast, as both a cable provider and content creator, may not be able to clear. The AT&T decision has changed that belief with analysts claiming Murdoch will do what is best for shareholders — getting the best price in cash for the assets Fox wants to sell.
The cable giant looks to add Fox’s international cable holdings and 20th Century Fox’s library to buoy itself as it sees cable TV as an increasingly losing prospect.
Should the company prove successful in outbidding Disney, fan hopes of the X-Men and Fantastic Four joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be dashed in the short-term as those assets will become part of a combined Fox/Universal entity. Of course, the management of that group may be interested in making a deal a la Sony’s subletting Spider-Man back to Marvel.
On a larger scale, though, the merging of these telecoms with media companies is a harbinger of things to come as other companies will seek to merge into fewer, but larger entities. That prospect is far more worrying than delaying Wolverine’s MCU debut.
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