Comcast kicked off its much-anticipated bidding war for the bulk of 21st Century Fox’s assets, offering $65 billion, about 19% more than what Disney offered late last year. Additionally, the cable giant has thrown in an extra $1.5 billion to cover the breakup fee Fox would have to pay Disney if it goes with the new offer.
Comcast’s chances will hinge on how aggressive Disney CEO Bob Iger plans to be to fight for these assets, which include Fox’s film and TV studios and its 30% stake in Hulu. Right now the winner is anyone’s guess.
Comcast isn’t wasting any time, given that Fox shareholders are scheduled to vote on the Disney merger on July 10. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts has been setting up meetings with Fox shareholders scheduled for Friday in New York City, people familiar with the situation have told me.
Tuesday’s ruling by a federal judge in favor of AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner doesn’t guarantee that Comcast would get regulatory approval for the Fox assets. But given the federal judge’s rebuke of the government’s case in his verdict, it is clear why Comcast feels emboldened.