June 25, 2019

Comcast Offers $65 Billion for 21st Century Fox, Challenging Disney

“In light of yesterday’s decision in the ATT/Time Warner case,” Mr. Roberts continued, “we are pleased to present a new, all-cash proposal that fully addresses the board’s stated concerns with our prior proposal.”

The businesses that Mr. Murdoch has agreed to sell include the 20th Century Fox film and TV studios, almost two dozen regional sports networks like the Yankees’ YES channel, a lineup of cable networks that include FX, and a 30 percent ownership stake in the streaming service Hulu.

But the key attractions for Comcast are Fox’s broad international assets. Among them are Fox’s 39 percent stake in the European pay-TV operator Sky and its control of Star, one of India’s largest media companies, which reaches 700 million people every month, according to the company.

Mr. Murdoch’s overseas business accounts for 27 percent of annual sales, about $7.8 billion. Comcast, whose cable business is strictly a domestic operation, draws in only 9 percent of its revenue from foreign agreements, largely through NBCUniversal.

Comcast has already made an offer to buy the other 61 percent of Sky in a separate deal. The Fox News cable network, the Fox broadcast stations, the Fox Business Network and the sports network FS1 would not be part of a transaction.

A Fox combination could help Comcast amplify its streaming services. Netflix, YouTube, Apple and Facebook are spending billions of dollars a year to create original series and are competing directly for content and sports programming.

Hulu, which has more than 17 million subscribers, would come under Comcast’s control if it pulls off the acquisition. “We think it’s a wonderful asset,” NBCUniversal’s chief executive, Stephen Burke, said Wednesday on a conference call with analysts. “It’s an important part of this deal, and we’d be very interested in growing that business in the future.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/13/business/media/comcast-fox-disney-bidding-war.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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