Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said the U.S. cable television giant is in the “advanced stages” of preparing an offer for most of 21st Century Fox’s film and television assets — a bid that would likely hinge on the outcome of tomorrow’s expected ruling in the AT&T-Time Warner antitrust case.
Roberts told investors, during the company’s annual shareholders meeting this morning, that Comcast actively pursues opportunities to create value for its shareholders, as it did with its 2011 acquisition of NBCUniversal as well as with its current offer for Sky in the U.K.
“We’re also are considering, and are in the advanced stages of preparing, an offer for the businesses that Fox is selling,” Roberts said, adding, “We set the bar high. We have been and will remain disciplined.”
Comcast’s bid, which is reportedly planned as a $60 billion all-cash offer, would top Disney’s $52.4 billion all-stock offer for the assets, which include the Fox film and television studios, the FX and National Geographic cable networks, as well as its holdings in Sky in Europe and Star in India.
Disney may well be forced to up the ante, should a bidding war ensue.
Fox Executive Chairman Lachlan Murdoch told Wall Street that the company remains “committed” to the Disney sale — indeed Fox and Disney shareholders are set to vote on the proposal on July 10. But he left open the possibility of weighing Comcast’s rival offer, saying, “our directors are aware of their fiduciary responsibilities.”
Also at the annual meeting, Comcast shareholders elected all of the nominees for one-year terms and approved an advisory vote on executive compensation, to be conducted every year. Shareholders defeated a proposal that would require the media company it report each year on its lobbying activities.
As the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality rules take effect today, Roberts told investors that Comcast would continue to uphold the principles of not blocking or slowing internet traffic.