Comcast has tabled a $65bn (€55bn) all-cash offer for a significant share of rival US media company 21st Century Fox’s business assets, challenging a deal struck in December between the latter and media giant Disney.
The offer values the assets at 19-per-cent more than the $52bn all-share deal agreed with Disney. Disney’s offer would lead ultimately to the company securing control of Sky, a major sports broadcaster in Europe, and media company Star India, among other assets.
Comcast confirmed the development yesterday (Wednesday) evening after a US court rejected government objections to telco AT&T’s takeover of media company Time Warner, a rival of Fox. It has been widely reported that Comcast was awaiting the result of the case before making its move.
Fox has scheduled a vote on the Disney merger proposal for July 10.
In a letter disclosed by Comcast to Fox’s executive chairmen Rupert Murdoch and Lachlan Murdoch and chief executive James Murdoch, Comcast’s chairman and chief executive, Brian Roberts, said: “After our meetings last year, we came away convinced that the 21CF businesses to be sold are highly complementary to ours, and that our company would be the right strategic home for them. So, we were disappointed when 21CF decided to enter into a transaction with The Walt Disney Company, even though we had offered a meaningfully higher price.
“In light of yesterday’s decision in the AT&T/Time Warner case, the limited time prior to your shareholders’ meeting, and our strong continued interest, we are pleased to present a new, all-cash proposal that fully addresses the Board’s stated concerns with our prior proposal. Our board of directors has unanimously approved this proposal, and no Comcast shareholder vote will be required for this transaction.”
Fox said it would “carefully review” the “unsolicited” offer.