Comcast Corporation has confirmed that it is “considering, and is in advanced stages of preparing,” a bid to acquire the assets that 21st Century Fox has agreed to sell to The Walt Disney Corporation.
In December, Fox announced that it would sell off its film and television studios, along with select cable and international TV businesses, for around $52.4 billion in stock. (The deal would not include Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2 and Big Ten Network.)
Comcast said its offer would be all-cash and at a premium to Disney’s all-share offer. “The structure and terms of any offer by Comcast, including with respect to both the spin-off of ‘New Fox’ and the regulatory risk provisions and the related termination fee, would be at least as favorable to Fox shareholders as the Disney offer,” Comcast said in its statement today, adding that “no final decision has been made.”
The news comes a month after Comcast announced a formal offer to acquire European pay-TV giant Sky, valuing the platform at $31 billion. Fox has been trying to take full control of Sky but U.K. regulators have expressed concerns about the company exerting too much power over the British media sector.
Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said in a written statement on Monday that he does not anticipate government intervention to block the Comcast-Sky transaction. “The proposed merger does not raise concerns in relation to public interest considerations which would meet the threshold for intervention. This is a quasi-judicial decision and I am required to make my decision independently, following a process that is scrupulously fair and impartial, and as promptly as quickly as possible. I will now allow until 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 24, for interested parties to submit written representations, and I aim to come to a final decision on whether to intervene in the merger shortly.”