Comcast launches $65bn bid to steal Murdoch's Fox away from Disney


What's important to remember is that Disney and 21st Century Fox already agreed on a $52.4 billion all-stock deal in December of 2017.

After all, Disney is big, but Disney is mostly an entertainment conglomerate, whereas Comcast is an industry that provides services to consumers. Fox being sold off to another media company means that's one less place for storytellers to try to get projects made, which is bad news for anyone who values movies and TV that takes chances and colors outside the lines.

In addition to the $35 U.S. per share cash offer, Comcast agreed to pay a $2.5-billion USA termination fee if the deal doesn't pass regulatory muster.

Barclays analyst Kannan Venkateshwar noted how Leon's decision mentioned how much the video programming and distribution industry has changed in just the past 18 months since the AT&T-Time Warner merger was announced.

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Comcast took its fight directly to 21st Century Fox shareholders, urging them to reject the Disney merger agreement in favor of its more lucrative offer.

Fox shareholders will vote July 10 on the Disney transaction but the company could postpone the meeting, Fox said in a statement.

Comcast and Disney say Fox would bring original material and global reach that can help them compete. "The immediate fallout of this decision is likely to be an attempt by Comcast to outbid Disney for the media content owned by Fox". So when the proposed merger was announced in 2016, it was widely expected that it would not be challenged. On that same day, then-candidate Donald Trump pledged that his administration would block the deal, saying "As an example of the power structure I'm fighting, AT&T is buying Time Warner and thus CNN, a deal we will not approve in my administration because it's too much concentration of power in the hands of too few".

The biggest impact of this deal will be felt quickly, as Comcast will now formally make an offer to Fox for the majority of its assets. Comcast, a distributor of content, would have access to Fox's popular franchises like X-Men and the Avengers as well its its production studios, to broadcast to its subscribers.

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The Justice Department's Director of Litigation - and the government's lead lawyer in the AT&T case - Conrath also led the legal charge in a case against American Express argued before the Supreme Court this spring. United Kingdom regulators have given the OK to that offer if Fox sells Sky News. AT&T is the US's second largest mobile phone operator and also owns the satellite TV broadcaster DirecTV.

AT&T and Time Warner together are some of the largest buyers of advertising around the globe, spending billions of dollars to market their products. Disney also offered break-up fees, should the deal fail to win regulatory approval.

Regulators there also have cleared Comcast's $30.7-billion U.S. offer for the 61 per cent of Sky that Murdoch doesn't own. The decision now rests with Judge Leon because the Justice Department sued AT&T to block the merger.

In the meantime, Moody's still have AT&T Baa1 rating under review as it waits to see how or if the government responds to the decision.

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The mega-merger is a high-stakes bet by AT&T Inc. on the synergy between companies that produce news and entertainment and those that funnel it to consumers.