It’s been shaping up to be the mega-deal of a lifetime; not much can quite beat the currently ongoing bid by The Walt Disney Company to acquire several major media assets from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox. Should it pull through, The House of Mouse gets a humongous multimedia empire.
But now, recent developments have complicated the Disney-Fox negotiations. Sometime before The House of Mouse showed its hand at acquisition last December, Fox had earlier entertained another offer for their media assets from Comcast. It never got anywhere due to worries about antitrust charges, but now Comcast is apparently reconsidering.
This is an interesting situation here. The offer Disney made for the Fox assets runs to the amount of around $52.4 billion. But the earlier Comcast deal is actually much bigger, at almost $60 billion. Apparently they are now confident that a renewed bid will pass government litigation for antitrust.
At a glance, both Disney and Comcast are rather similar in circumstances. Going into their attempts to acquire 20th Century Fox, FX, Fox Sports and more, the two companies each already have a film studio (Disney Pictures/Universal), TV network (Disney Channel & XD/NBC), animation studio, and finally branded theme parks.
Regarding the edge one has over the other, Comcast may have the higher offer, but 21st Century Fox deciding to go with Disney’s acquisition to comes with the provision that members of the Murdoch family become major Disney shareholders. Rupert’s son James Murdoch could also get a top-level Disney position.
Following standard practice, the period given to finalize a Disney-Fox agreement would take about 18 months on average, with a proxy statement to be released by Fox on the merger for the approval of antitrust regulators. Disney CEO Bob Iger is staying on until 2021 to oversee the asset transfer.