A major battle of media titans is brewing with reports Monday that Comcast may be working up a deal to push Disney out of the running to buy 21st Century Fox assets.
According to Bloomberg and Reuters, Comcast is in talks with investment banks to set up an all-cash bid for 21st Century Fox film and TV businesses.
This comes after Walt Disney Co. agreed in December to pay $52.4 billion for units including the historic 20th Century Fox movie studio and Fox’s television studio.
Fox CEO Rupert Murdochhad spurned an offer from Comcast at the time, even though it was 16% higher on a per share basis, because it didnt offer a breakup fee should regulators nix the deal.
Now Comcast, which owns NBC and Universal Pictures, is coming back with another attempt. This comes after Comcast offered $31 billion to get a 61% stake in Europes pay-TV group Sky PLC. Fox owns most of the rest.
Sources told Reuters Comcast was waiting to see the outcome of a Department of Justice challenge to AT&Ts acquisition of Time Warner before it puts its bid forward.
Analyst Richard Greenfieldwith BTIG Research said Comcast can make the math work on an all-cash deal and that the synergies are greater for Comcast/Fox/Sky than Disney/Fox/Sky due to distribution overlaps.
The newscomes as both Disney and Fox are preparing to release quarterly earnings reports this week.
Fox shares rose 4.75% in after-hours trading on the news.