Disney & Comcast Could End Up Splitting Fox's Assets

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As the bidding war heats up for 21st Century Fox's key assets, one Wall Street analyst suggests the most "sensible outcome" may be for Disney and Comcast to divide the properties, which include the film and television rights to Marvel's X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool.

Following a federal judge's approval of AT&T's merger with Time Warner, Comcast stepped forward with a $65 billion all-cash offer for Fox, which it billed as superior to The Walt Disney Co.'s $52.4 billion all-stock bid. In light of Comcast's move, Fox is deciding whether to cancel or postpone the planned July 10 board meeting to vote on the Disney deal. Disney, which was already lining up financing, is widely expected to make an all-cash counter-offer.

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According to CNBC, B. Riley analyst Barton Crockett told clients on Wednesday, "We would expect Disney to at least match Comcast by adding cash, and Comcast to appease [Rupert] Murdoch's tax concerns by offering stock, and some back and forth raising the deal bid. Barring a third entrant (Internet/tech is possible), we would see the most sensible outcome as splitting the baby, with Comcast getting Sky (which we see as its main goal) and Disney getting most of the rest."

"The rest" is most notably FX Networks, National Geographic, a 30-percent stake in Hulu, and the 20th Century Fox film and television production studios, which include those coveted movie rights. Fox will spin off the Fox Broadcasting network and local stations, Fox News, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2 and Big Ten Network into a new company, called New Fox.

Comcast is already seeking to buy a 61-percent stake in European pay-TV group Sky, and would like to acquire the rest, now controlled by Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox.

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