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. Many at the time also started debating whether Comcast would follow up its Sky offer with a bid for the other Fox assets that Disney is buying.
It's on. Comcast this morning confirmed its plan to make a rich counter-offer for the 21st Century Fox assets that Disney has proposed to acquire.
Comcast, which owns NBC Universal, said it had not made a final decision on whether to make a formal offer but that the work on financing a bid and making regulatory findings were "well advanced".
CNBC notes that, while Comcast plans to outbid Disney, Fox's owners may ultimately side with the latter, due to an offer for a tax-free spin off of the company. Should AT&T get the green light without orders of a major, deal-breaking divestment, sources close to Comcast have reportedly said it will move once again on Fox.
Comcast chief Brian Roberts has laid down the gauntlet to Rupert Murdoch by declaring an audacious bid to disrupt the mogul's exit from global entertainment. But to tip the scales in favor of Comcast, the Comcast Fox deal would be an "all-cash" deal versus Disney's all-stock offering. In doing so, it topped an earlier offer for the entirety of Sky by Fox.
Fox and Disney declined to comment.
The assets set to be purchased include everything under 21st Century Fox, sans the Fox broadcast network, Fox News, and local TV stations. Fox cited regulatory hurdles as reasons to reject Comcast's bid.
"In addition, our directors, though, of course are aware of their fiduciary duties on behalf of all shareholders", he said. According to Forbes, the former's offer could amount to about $60 billion. For now, Comcast strictly seems interested in the company's entertainment division.
The government worries that AT&T, as DirecTV's owner, could charge Comcast and other rival distributors higher prices for Time Warner channels like CNN or HBO.