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Comcast eyes Fox after AT&T gets Time Warner merger approval

14 Juin 2018

The media giant's bid offers $35 per share in cash, or roughly 19% higher than the value of Disney's offer, Comcast said in a press release. So far, only Fox has responded, saying it would "carefully review" the proposal. Disney's Iger has also said Fox is key to its plans for Hulu, which it would gain control of if it acquired Fox. (Again, AT&T's recent success seems to indicate that the government is fine with these huge acquisitions, so that may not be a factor.) Should Fox choose Comcast over Disney, Comcast will also pay Fox a $1.525 billion break-up fee that Fox would have to pay to Disney for backing out of their previous agreement.

As part of the deal, Disney pledged to seek full ownership of Sky. That would set up a showdown with Disney, which has already put in a bid for those assets.

The showdown over Fox is happening as the growth of online streaming and competitors such as Netflix reshape the entertainment industry. But if Disney gets Fox, the combined movie studios would account for 45 percent of worldwide box office revenue, according to BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield. It was the No. 2 film studio at the box office past year.

Unfortunately for the MCU fandom, the $52.4 billion deal offered by the Mouse House to purchase a majority of assets owned by Fox - including Deadpool, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men - "is in more jeopardy than some may believe".

If Comcast succeeds in its bid, it would become a massive media conglomerate with few rivals in America.

The largest cable-television provider in the United States, Comcast owns NBC and Universal Pictures, among other properties. That would be Rupert Murdoch, the largest shareholder of Fox.

Hindsight, obviously, is 20/20, but in hindsight it is clear that consumers would have been better protected if the DoJ had reached a settlement allowing the merger but with conditions.

Fox previously rejected an offer from Comcast, reportedly because it was concerned about getting regulatory approval.

Regulators are now reviewing the Disney transaction.

The ruling is a major setback for the Justice Department and its antitrust chief, Makan Delrahim, whose decision to sue to block the deal broke with convention.

AT&T also used acquisitions to move into a lower-priced wireless segment, buying Leap Wireless in 2014.

Comcast's proposal is the latest attempt to merge content production with content distribution. But looking beyond today, the merger could have a strong effect on future deals. The government anxious that AT&T, as DirecTV's owner, could charge Comcast and other rival distributors higher prices for Time Warner channels like CNN or HBO.

"Now, more than ever, we need reinvigorated regulatory oversight of the video marketplace - such as program access and program carriage rules - to ensure that smaller distributors and programmers, and consumers, aren't harmed by an increasingly uncompetitive market", the advocacy group Public Knowledge said in a statement.

Comcast eyes Fox after AT&T gets Time Warner merger approval