Earlier today, Comcast Corp. entered into a bidding war with The Walt Disney Co. for 21st Century Fox’s key assets, but that doesn't signal the end of the Disney/Fox deal -- yet. As it stands, however, Fox is poised to postpone or cancel its July 10 meeting with stockholders to discuss the Disney/Fox merger.
“21st Century Fox has not yet made a determination, in light of Comcast’s proposal, as to whether it will postpone or adjourn the July 10, 2018 special meeting of stockholders to consider certain proposals related to the Disney Merger Agreement,” Fox's Murdoch family said in a statement, per Deadline. The statement confirmed also Comcast's bid for “the Twentieth Century Fox Film and Television studios, along with cable and international TV businesses.”
“21st Century Fox remains subject to the Disney Merger Agreement,” the statement added. “Consistent with the terms of this agreement and the fiduciary duties of the Company’s directors, 21st Century Fox’s Board, in consultation with its outside legal counsel and financial advisors, will carefully review and consider the Comcast proposal.”
Comcast has officially made a $65 billion all-cash offer for 21st Century Fox’s key assets. It was reported in May that Disney was seeking financing to make an all-cash counter-offer; the entertainment giant’s current offer is $52.4 billion, entirely in stock.
One analyst has predicted what Disney's initial counter-offer might be and suggested we may see the two corporations split the Fox assets. "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," B. Riley analyst Barton Crockett said, per CNBC. "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."
Comcast's bid came just a day after a federal judge approved AT&T’s $85.4 billion purchase of Time Warner, over the objections of the U.S. Justice Department, giving the telecommunications giant control of the parent of Warner Bros., DC Entertainment, CNN and HBO. That was the signal Comcast was waiting for to make its move to outbid Disney for such Fox assets as FX Networks, National Geographic, a 30-percent stake in Hulu, and the 20th Century Fox film and television production studios, which include the movie rights for the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool.
Subsequently, Comcast sent a letter to the board of directors of 21st Century Fox, notifying them of the superior offer ahead of the planned July 10 vote on the Disney merger.