Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
Entertaiment | By Paul Elliott

Judge clears AT&T takeover of Time Warner

Judge clears AT&T takeover of Time Warner

As expected, Comcast Corp. entered into a bidding war with The Walt Disney making a $65 billion all-cash offer for 21st Century Fox's key assets.

Stay tuned to Heroic Hollywood for the latest developments on Disney and Comcast's bids for Fox's assets!

The Disney deal was proposed several months ago, but the Disney merger meeting was the time for it to be submitted for approval to stockholders.

The Disney deal includes 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox 2000, 20th Century Fox Television, FX Productions, Fox21, FX Networks, National Geographic Partners, Fox Sports Regional Networks, Fox Networks Group International, Star India and Fox's interests in Hulu, Sky, and Endemol Shine Group.

Comcast said it has offered $65bn (£48.6bn) in cash for Fox's film and television studios and worldwide businesses.

A federal judge on Tuesday gave the green light for AT&T's Time Warner acquisition to proceed, ushering in a media, technology and telecommunications behemoth. While the Department of Justice could still appeal, Comcast seems to believe the gateway is open and made a decision to go in with a heavy hand in regards to 21st Century Fox.

The cable giant's aggressive bid also may test the close working relationship between Disney's Bob Iger and Murdoch, which reportedly contributed significantly to Disney's successful play for Fox's stable of properties in the first place. "The question is whether Disney is ready because unlike in 2004, Comcast is in it to win!" The $35 per share offer represents a 19% premium on Disney's $52.4 billion all-stock offer for the same assets.

Guess we'll just have to wait and see. In the past, the DoJ has come to an agreement with companies engaging in a contentious merger, setting conditions that must be respected in order for the deal to be completed.

The Fox stable includes The Simpsons and the X-Men movie franchise.

Comcast also is making an ambitious push in Europe that centers on United Kingdom pay TV provider Sky. Fox has a 39 percent stake in that company and has been trying to buy outright, with the intention of selling the full company to Disney as part of that deal.

Comcast is also offering a breakup fee of $2.5 billion if the deal is not consummated, matching the offer from Disney.

Justice Department lawyers who tried to stop AT&T's $85 billion deal expect consumers will lose out as bigger companies raise prices, and some lawyers saw that as a concern in a Comcast-Fox deal which would put two movie studios and two major television brands under one roof. If Fox pulls out of the Disney deal, they will have to pay a multi-billion penalty. However, in recent weeks, we've heard rumblings that Comcast was looking to make a more generous, all-cash offer...but is this something the government would allow?

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