Comcast Tops Disney's Bid For Fox

Comcast has submitted a competing bid for 21st Century Fox today, kicking off what is expected to be a serious, high-stakes bidding war between the cable giant and The Walt Disney Company.

According to Deadline, Comcast made an all-cash offer of $65 billion for a large swath of Fox's film and television assets as well as its stake in streaming service Hulu, and international holdings. This offer, which equals to $35 per share, is a 19 percent premium on Disney's all-stock $52.4 billion offer.

Comcast's bid today follows a U.S. District Court ruling yesterday that officially approved the merger between AT&T and Time Warner. That deal is one that both media and business worlds have been watching closely after first being struck in 2016 and ended up hitting a major roadblock in the way of a Justice Department lawsuit claiming the merger would violate anti-trust laws. However, the court ruling removed that obstacle and, as that deal was so similar to a prospective Comcast/Fox arrangement, the ruling appears to have been the confidence Comcast needed to make a run for Fox.

As Fox's Rupert Murdoch has not ruled out entertaining Comcast's bid -- a recent report indicated that Murdoch ultimately wants to do business with the highest bidder and an all-cash offer presents a much more attractive deal -- Disney will now have to come up with their own counter offer. It's something that Disney has reportedly been preparing for, with a recent CNBC report indicating that Disney is lining up the financing to offer significant cash to seal the Fox deal, something that media analyst Michael Nathanson thinks will ultimately happen.

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"We continue to believe that Disney has the superior balance sheet, cost of debt, equity, and rationale to emerge victorious over Comcast in a bidding war," Nathanson said. "The question is will Disney's board and management go to the mat on this transaction? We think the answer is yes."

Considering what's at stake with the Fox deal it would make sense that Disney would go to the mat for Fox. Among the assets including in the Fox deal are the rights to make live-action movies and television featuring the X-Men and Fantastic Four, whose rights were sold to Fox years ago. A deal with Disney would allow those massively popular characters to be brought into Disney's own vastly successful Marvel Cinematic Universe. With the merger saga far from over, fans will want to stay tuned to see what Disney's next move is as well as which media giant comes out on top.