A renewed bid for 21st Century Fox assets is being contemplated by media giant Comcast, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
Comcast was rejected in its prior pursuit of the entertainment assets at Fox even though its bid came in 15 percent higher than the Walt Disney Co., the WSJ reported. The Comcast price was in the low $60 billion range to Disney’s $52.4 billion, the media outlet said.
Fox allegedly declined the higher bid from Comcast because of concerns that anti-trust implications would tie-up any deal’s conclusion. The assets for the deal included the Twentieth Century Fox movie and TV studio, international pay TV properties, and some US cable networks and were made available to both parties. The Disney deal has not yet closed, and Comcast has not decided whether it will act.
Many analysts believed any deal between Comcast and Fox would be viewed as a “vertical” deal, meaning a portion of the business – in this case, Fox’s cable TV channels to a company that already was in that business – would represent too much of a power consolidation. In any proposed deal, Comcast would reportedly offer to take some assets out of the deal to help ease any government perceptions.
The Rupert Murdoch family controls a 39% voting interest in both 21st Century Fox and the Wall Street Journal-parent News Corp.
Disney had no immediate comment on the report.