Comcast has just launched a $65bn bid for 21st Century Fox, which is currently controlled by media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
The all cash bid was made on Wednesday afternoon, just a day after a federal judge approved AT&T’s Time Warner takeover. This decision rejected the government’s argument that it would damage cable and satellite T.V competition, whilst increasing streaming costs for consumers. According to Comcast, the offer is 19% higher than Disney’s $52.4bn offer for the company, which was made back in December.
Comcast’s chairman, Brian Roberts made the bid in a letter to Murdoch and his sons, Lachlan and James, which was followed by a press release. Roberts claimed that he was “disappointed” that Fox was negotiating with Disney, as he believed that Comcast would be “the right strategic home for them”. Roberts also claimed that they were “highly confident” that their offer was more likely to receive “regulatory approval” than Disney’s.
The battle for Twenty-First Century Fox comes as traditional media companies fight to combat the rise in streaming technology, as stand-alone services such as Netflix become increasingly popular. If the Comcast bid is successful, it may make it harder for online alternatives to emerge and possibly lead to higher cable bills, although there is no evidence yet of this occurring following other mergers.
Comcast’s bid also severely damages Marvel’s chances of retaining the rights to some of their characters. If Disney are unsuccessful, then Marvel’s only hope will be for Fox to be dissolved by Comcast, which seems unlikely.
Murdoch’s decision to sell Fox will reduce his media empire to comprise of Fox News and sports and media businesses, including The Times and The Sun.
Murdoch has yet to publicly comment on this latest offer.
By Gemma Prince
Images provided by Disney/Comcast