Brain L Roberts the Chairman and Chief Executive of US telecoms and media giant Comcast has made a power play move for 21st Century Fox assets, challenging the agreed $52 billion deal between Rupert Murdoch and Walt Disney Co.
Valued at $200 billion, Comcast the US’ largest cable operator and internet services provider is set to propose an alternative ‘all cash package’ to 21st Century Fox shareholders.
Leading Comcast’s bid, Roberts believes that his cash offer can stump Disney’s proposed all-share transaction, delivering greater value for Fox investors.
Mirroring, Disney’s bid Comcast seeks to takeover 21st Century Fox Studios, Fox Entertainment assets and Fox’s 39% stake in Sky Plc, allowing the media giant to enter the European sports market.
The deal would further see Comcast acquire leading Asian sports broadcaster Star Sports, extending its US sports verticals within the region.
Competing in the US market, Roberts and Murdoch have clashed several times in relation to NBC and Universal Studio properties, and Comcast’s failed 2015 merger with Time Warner.
It is believed that Roberts will seek to freeze-out any Murdoch interest in a Comcast-Fox combination, whereas Disney’s offer delivers the Murdoch family a 5% stake in the enlarged enterprise.
In December 2017, Rupert Murdoch accepted Disney’s $52 billion offer, seeking to create the ‘world’s largest entertainment company’.
Media news sources reported that Murdoch was keen to depart the entertainment and movie sectors, with the media mogul returning to being a ‘traditional newsman’ operating a controlling stake in Fox News, News Corp UK and The Wall Street Journal.
Richard’s bold offer has shocked business insiders, who now detail that a new media and entertainment turf war has kicked-off between Comcast and Disney.
Nevertheless, US business commentators believe that both Comcast and Disney are prepared to stockpile entertainment assets in order to counter the all-encompassing threats of tech giants’ Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple, who are advancing their media, sports and entertainment agendas.