Comcast Preparing "Superior" Bid to Purchase Fox

Comcast Corp. has confirmed that is preparing to make a “superior” bid for significant portions of 21st Century Fox, which may derail Walt Disney Co.’s attempts to purchase those same assets.

Comcast backed off of its attempts to purchase Fox in December, just before Disney made its $52.4 billion offer. Now Comcast, the parent company of NBCUniversal, is looking to get back into the fray with an all-cash offer.

"Comcast Corporation confirms that it is considering, and is in advanced stages of preparing, an offer for the businesses that Fox has agreed to sell to Disney (which do not include the Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Broadcasting Company and certain other assets)," Comcast said on Wednesday (via The Hollywood Reporter). "Any offer for Fox would be all-cash and at a premium to the value of the current all-share offer from Disney. The structure and terms of any offer by Comcast, including with respect to both the spin-off of 'New Fox' and the regulatory risk provisions and the related termination fee, would be at least as favorable to Fox shareholders as the Disney offer.

“While no final decision has been made, at this point the work to finance the all-cash offer and make the key regulatory filings is well advanced."

Comcast and Disney have been butting heads with other over certain aspects of the Fox deal, specifically the acquisition of Fox’s European television company Sky. If Comcast makes an official offer, it could lead to an all-out bidding war with Disney, putting Disney’s previous agreement to purchase Fox is jeopardy.

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"When a set of assets like 21st Century Fox's becomes available, it’s our responsibility to evaluate if there’s a strategic fit that could benefit our company and our shareholders," Comcast said in December, after bowing out of its interest in Fox. "That’s what we tried to do and we are no longer engaged in the review of those assets. We never got the level of engagement needed to make a definitive offer. We have a terrific company with a strong portfolio of businesses and will continue to focus on driving growth, innovating, creating great content, and providing excellent experiences for our customers."

These merger talks have been of special interest to fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, many of whom are eager to see Disney, the parent company of Marvel Studios, regain the rights to make live-action movies and television featuring the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, whose rights were sold to Fox years ago.