Comcast bids $65 billion for most of 21st Century Fox

Comcast is going all-in to win 21st Century Fox.The company on Wednesday formalized a $65 billion all-cash bid...

Posted: Jun 14, 2018 4:34 PM
Updated: Jun 14, 2018 4:34 PM

Comcast is going all-in to win 21st Century Fox.

The company on Wednesday formalized a $65 billion all-cash bid for most of Fox. It's a dramatic attempt to thwart Disney, which reached a $52.4 billion deal in December for the same film and TV assets.

Comcast's move came one day after a federal judge approved AT&T's $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner. The Justice Department had sued to stop the deal. (CNN is a unit of Time Warner.)

The Comcast offer sets the stage for a high-stakes bidding war between two of the biggest players in media and telecom. Both Comcast and Disney are eager to buy Fox to bolster their positions in a changing industry.

Related: Judge approves $85 billion AT&T-Time Warner deal

Consumers are cutting their cable subscriptions and spending more time with online services like Netflix. Purchasing Fox is a way to scale up.

The winner of the Comcast-Disney showdown would get Fox's movie studio, which is responsible for franchises like "Avatar" and "X-Men," along with Fox's regional sports networks and cable channels like FX and National Geographic.

And the deal would come with Fox's stake in Hulu, the streaming service with 20 million viewers. Both Comcast and Disney have their own stakes in Hulu, and whoever gets Fox would control the majority. (Time Warner owns 10%.)

Comcast wants Fox's stake in Hulu but would part with it if necessary to satisfy regulators, a source familiar with the company's thinking told CNNMoney. The Wall Street Journal reported similar thinking earlier Wednesday.

Fox would also give up its stake in the European broadcaster Sky, which would help either Comcast or Disney expand its footprint abroad.

Both those companies eventually want all of Sky. Fox has a pending deal for the rest of the broadcaster, which it agreed to pass off to Disney. Comcast is bidding independently for the same stake, leaving Sky's fate uncertain.

Disney and Comcast could even end up splitting ownership. Comcast CFO Mike Cavanagh told investors Wednesday that the company stands behind its own Sky offer "independent of whatever happens to Fox."

Fox's Rupert Murdoch is keeping a few properties, including Fox News, the Fox Sports national cable channels and the Fox broadcasting network. Those will be spun off into a new company.

"We have long admired what the Murdoch family has built at Twenty-First Century Fox," Comcast CEO Brian Roberts wrote Wednesday in a letter to Fox detailing the proposal.

Fox said it had received the Comcast offer and would carefully review it. Disney had no immediate comment.

Comcast was in talks to buy Fox late last year. But it lost out to Disney in part because major Fox investors weren't sure the proposal would win over government regulators. Around the same time, the Justice Department sued to block the AT&T-Time Warner deal.

Both deals share similarities: AT&T and Comcast are distributors trying to buy content creators.

Comcast re-entered the picture last month when it said publicly that it was preparing a bid for Fox.

Related: War of the media moguls: Is Brian Roberts outflanking Bob Iger?

Roberts is known as a tenacious dealmaker. One of his direct reports, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke, told the Los Angeles Times: "Brian never gives up. We have worked on a lot of deals together and he just out-hustles everyone. He's a very persistent guy."

Wednesday's offer is a likely sign that Comcast thinks AT&T's victory might help its chances, and placate the antitrust concerns that Fox had last year.

Roberts wrote in his letter that Comcast is "highly confident" its offer will "obtain all necessary regulatory approvals in a timely manner." He said Comcast's proposal is at least as likely to pass muster with regulators as Disney's.

Comcast has suggested that it would make some concessions if necessary. Like Disney, Comcast is willing to divest Fox's regional sports networks if regulators demand it, according to company filings.

Comcast also agreed to cover the $1.5 billion breakup fee that Fox would owe Disney if it backed out of that deal.

"Our money's where our mouth is," Cavanagh said on the call with investors. "We think this deal gets closed."

Now the ball is in Fox's court. The company's board will need to determine whether Comcast's offer is reasonably likely to be better than Disney's. If they do, they will start negotiating with Comcast.

Should the board decide Comcast has the better deal, Disney would have five days to come up with a counter.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 135372

Reported Deaths: 2406
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin34290991
Ramsey14168361
Dakota9897138
Anoka8872150
Washington598672
Stearns588344
Scott342934
Olmsted327730
St. Louis302669
Wright254115
Clay232843
Nobles227616
Blue Earth20457
Carver18207
Sherburne171122
Kandiyohi17055
Rice164810
Mower152917
Winona126019
Chisago10402
Crow Wing103522
Lyon9766
Benton9509
Waseca9299
Beltrami9017
Otter Tail8737
Todd8266
Steele7613
Morrison7429
Nicollet73917
Itasca73617
Douglas7083
Freeborn6844
Polk6734
Le Sueur6315
Martin61317
McLeod6024
Goodhue59711
Watonwan5794
Becker5754
Isanti5615
Pine5490
Carlton4441
Chippewa4443
Mille Lacs41315
Hubbard3962
Dodge3940
Wabasha3840
Cass3775
Pipestone35117
Rock3404
Meeker3313
Brown3243
Unassigned29253
Yellow Medicine2856
Murray2833
Cottonwood2820
Redwood28111
Roseau2650
Fillmore2640
Renville25611
Sibley2543
Wadena2393
Faribault2350
Jackson2151
Kanabec21510
Swift2071
Houston2061
Pennington1951
Lincoln1840
Stevens1841
Aitkin1792
Koochiching1704
Pope1610
Big Stone1410
Lac qui Parle1403
Wilkin1374
Marshall1261
Lake1230
Norman1170
Mahnomen1162
Clearwater1140
Grant994
Red Lake782
Traverse570
Lake of the Woods441
Kittson420
Cook170

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 116514

Reported Deaths: 1643
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk19024288
Woodbury724797
Johnson586230
Black Hawk562698
Linn5591132
Dubuque521157
Scott456639
Story401018
Dallas346344
Pottawattamie324744
Sioux244716
Buena Vista226112
Marshall202036
Webster184415
Plymouth166728
Wapello153062
Clinton149226
Muscatine147758
Des Moines139610
Cerro Gordo137726
Crawford136114
Warren12617
Carroll115612
Jasper111234
Henry10675
Marion101810
Lee95610
Tama94837
Delaware78013
Dickinson7417
Wright7271
Boone7239
Mahaska69724
Bremer6779
Washington66211
Harrison65815
Jackson6333
Benton5902
Lyon5537
Clay5354
Louisa52315
Winnebago49719
Hardin4777
Winneshiek4779
Hamilton4754
Cedar4746
Kossuth4690
Poweshiek45911
Buchanan4544
Jones4474
Floyd43711
Emmet43019
Clayton4233
Iowa4109
Page4060
Mills4053
Cherokee4032
Sac3994
Guthrie39515
Cass3903
Butler3832
Fayette3814
Franklin38118
Shelby3732
Allamakee3719
Madison3623
Chickasaw3611
Clarke3523
Humboldt3253
Hancock3204
Palo Alto3142
Grundy3115
Calhoun3094
Osceola2851
Mitchell2811
Howard2709
Monroe25911
Monona2451
Taylor2432
Jefferson2391
Union2314
Appanoose2273
Pocahontas2262
Fremont2061
Lucas2056
Ida1932
Greene1870
Van Buren1802
Davis1784
Montgomery1787
Adair1701
Keokuk1611
Decatur1500
Audubon1481
Worth1450
Wayne1213
Ringgold882
Adams810
Unassigned110
Rochester
Clear
15° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 6°
Mason City
Clear
18° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 18°
Albert Lea
Clear
19° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 10°
Austin
Clear
19° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 19°
Charles City
Clear
23° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 16°
Temps gradually warming through the week!
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events