Fox takeover: Comcast ups its offer, Disney's move next

Fox takeover: Comcast ups its offer, Disney's move next

"In our opinion [the deal] is integral to the streaming ambitions of [Bob] Iger [Disney chief executive] and Disney", said Ives. Of course, Comcast courted Fox once before, in November, with an all-stock proposal that was actually more generous than Disney's. It's widely assumed that a superior rival offer for the Fox media assets came from Comcast earlier this spring, but that Fox preferred the lower regulatory risk of selling to Disney.

The news lifted Fox shares 0.9 percent to $38.52.

Comcast's stock was down almost 2 percent in early Wednesday trading at $31.88, near its 52-week low of $30.43. The company used stock rather than cash for its bid.

However, in its statement, Comcast promised to pay a significant break fee should regulators scupper a deal. Last month, Comcast also formally made a $31 billion bid for the European subscription TV giant Sky, offering to take full ownership of the network in which Fox owns a 39 percent stake. In play are the Fox film and TV studios and a lucrative set of cable networks, including FX, National Geographic and regional sports operations. Comcast said at the time that it "never got the level of engagement needed to make a definitive offer".

The battle over Fox is emblematic of how rapidly the media industry is changing. Traditional players jolted by the disruptive entry this decade of tech behemoths into their backyards have been scrambling to fortify themselves, leading to a spree of M&A deals both real and imagined.

Comcast Corp. confirmed that it may make an offer for the entertainment assets that 21st Century Fox (fox) has agreed to sell to Walt Disney Co.

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Joseph added that Comcast's offer is expected to be at a financial premium to Disney's, and as such "Fox is in a good position either ways".

"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". It said this "would be at least as favourable to Fox shareholders" as Disney's offer of $2.5bn.

Comcast, the biggest cable operator in the U.S., confirmed it's close to a bid to buy 21st Century Fox. "If that goes through it is highly possible there will more than one bid for Fox".

Comcast won approval on Monday from the United Kingdom government to move ahead with its offer for Sky. The Wall Street Journal and others reported earlier that Comcast had lined up $60 billion in cash to challenge Disney for media mogul Rupert Murdoch's company.

It's also the latest in a dizzying period of merger moves in tech and media: In addition to Disney's deal for Fox, Comcast is trying to undermine Fox (yes, the same Fox) to win 61 percent of United Kingdom television company Sky TV, and AT&T is trying to buy TV programmer Time Warner despite government opposition.

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