In December, Walt Disney and 21st Century Fox agreed to a $52.4 billion deal in which Disney would acquire about half of Fox's TV-media assets, including its TV/film production company, FX Networks, National Geographic, regional sports channels, 30% interest in Hulu, and worldwide TV networks and interests.
Disney reached a $52.4 billion deal in December to buy Fox's movie studio and regional sports networks, as well as cable channels FX and National Geographic.
In a statement, Comcast (CCV) described the bid as one that will be "a premium to the value of the current all-share offer from Disney (DIS)". Disney would control Foxs cable and global TV businesses as well.
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.
It would also include a 39% stake in Sky, for which Comcast tabled a separate bid in April, taking it into direct conflict with Fox, which wants to acquire the British broadcaster outright.
The Fox and Sky deals would transform Comcast into a global entertainment giant that could compete with Netflix and break out of the USA market with its melting cable-subscriber base. Whilst Disney has accepted the Fox deal in principle, this may yet put a spanner in the proverbial works.
There are also significant expenses related to capital-gains taxes in the case of all-cash offers, compared with stock transactions - one reason why Rupert Murdoch, who owns 17% of Fox has leaned away from cash deals.
"We are committed to our agreement with Disney and are working through the conditions to bring it to a closing", he said.
Comcast won approval on Monday from the United Kingdom government to move ahead with the offer for Sky. Comcast said it would offer to buy the same assets after the spinoff of what has been dubbed "New Fox".
Fox had no immediate comment on the Comcast statement.
Either deal could face intense scrutiny from antitrust regulators because of the implications for the television and cinema sectors. Fox, which already owns a minority stake in Sky, is attempting to purchase the rest and has agreed to sell any Sky stake to Disney as part of its acquisition. More than a decade ago, as the newly installed CEO and the son of Comcast founder Ralph Roberts, he spearheaded an unsolicited $52 billion offer for Disney in 2004, well before NBCUniversal had entered the fold.
The US government is now suing to block a merger between Time Warner, and the telecoms giant AT&T. If either deal holds, and all goes well with the Justice Department and Fox shareholders, the entire entertainment landscape is primed for some big changes in 2018, and beyond.