by Graham Pierrepoint
Those following the future of 20th Century Fox knew only too well that there was to be a big movement midweek with regard to the potential future of the brand – as Disney had already bid $52.4 billion in stock for Fox late last year, with the company still mulling the deal over – while Comcast, owners of NBCUniversal, were thought to be preparing their own counter-offer to set the cat amongst the pigeons. That, at least, seems to be what has happened – as Comcast has thrown a curve ball into proceedings by approaching Fox with $60 billion – in cash – for the brand in its entirety. Fox’s current position at the time of writing is ‘consideration’ – though insider analysis seems to suggest that a split deal could be on the cards.
▶ Comcast Cash vs. Disney Stock in Battle for Fox
The bidding war will supposedly end around July 10th, when shareholders in Fox are expected to make a final vote on which offer to accept – Comcast have not only leapt in with a deal that seems to outdo Disney’s proposal, but they have also prepared a lengthy document for Fox representatives which supposedly outlines why a deal with Disney should not be considered. Some analysts in the industry are considering the possibility of Fox allowing Comcast to take some of the brand, while allowing Disney to take the remainder. Barton Crockett, noted industry analyst, shared this view while in conversation with CNBC. “My sense is that Comcast is particularly interested in Sky, and Disney might have much more interest in much of the rest of it,” he proposed. Sky is a popular British broadcaster which is part of the Fox chain – if Comcast was to obtain all rights to the Sky arm, they would have considerable media leverage overseas.
▶ Comcast Submits Another Proposal to Buy 21st Century Fox
Disney, meanwhile, may be hoping to get the whole pie – but if they were to lose Sky to Comcast, this would still mean that they get a colossal amount of entertainment arsenal – such as, for example, characters such as the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, currently owned by Fox, but who could be integrated into the all-encompassing Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s shaping up to be a very interesting game indeed, with some real heavyweight players – either one of the major empires taking on the Fox brand and all of its assets will mean big changes for broadcasting and entertainment – and we can’t wait to see how this one will play out.