The Strategist

Comcast is getting ready to break Disney-Fox deal

05/08/2018 - 12:29

The American cable operator Comcast Corp will ask investment banks to increase financing by $ 60 billion. The company needs cash to make an offer to buy media assets, which 21st Century Fox Inc agreed to sell Walt Disney Co for $ 52 billion, reports Reuters, citing three sources, familiar with the situation.

Mike Mozart via flickr
Mike Mozart via flickr
According to the agency's interlocutors, Comcast's CEO Brian Roberts plans to make an offer to buy these assets only if a federal judge allows AT & T Inc to purchase Time Warner Inc, the parent company of CNN. The US Department of Justice opposed the deal between AT & T and Time Warner because of fears of a potential reduction in competition. The court's decision on this transaction is expected in June.

In December, Disney CEO Bob Iger concluded an agreement to purchase Fox’s entertainment assets with Fox's executive chairman Rupert Murdoch. As a result of the deal, the world's largest entertainment company should be established. 

Yesterday, Comcast, owner of NBC and Universal Pictures, also sent a formal notice to the European Commission about the intention to acquire 61% of British media company Sky Plc for 22 billion pounds ($ 30 billion).

Earlier, Comcast offered 12.5 pounds sterling for the Sky Plc share, which belongs to the Sky News television channel.

Fox, which already owns a 39% stake in Sky, announced its intention to buy the remaining 61% stake in the broadcaster in December 2016. Fox offered 10.75 pounds per share of Sky, which is 16% less than Comcast offers. 

It is not yet clear what exactly Comcast will offer for Fox assets, Reuters notes. However, $ 60 billion of new financing indicates that the company is looking for significant resources to break the price offered by Disney. Comcast already has a $ 30 billion loan to finance the offer to buy Sky.

Murdoch, who owns almost 17% of Fox shares, prefers to make a deal by exchanging shares instead of getting cash for Fox assets, since in this case the deal will be tax-exempt for shareholders, sources say. It is unclear how he will react to the offer to buy assets for cash.