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Fox asset sale: Comcast tops Disney's offer with $65 bn all-cash bid

AFP/PTI/New York 14 Jun 18 | 12:44 AM

Comcast has offered $65 billion for key film and television assets of Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox, topping an offer from Walt Disney Co. for a deal that could create a dominant media-entertainment power.

The move by Comcast, which is the largest US cable provider and also owns the NBCUniversal media group, opens up a new round of competition for the prized assets being shed by the Murdoch family empire.

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"Our proposal represents a premium of approximately 19 per cent to the value of Disney's offer as of noon today. We are highly confident in our ability to finance the transaction, and our offer includes no financing-related conditions," Comcast said in a letter to Rupert Murdoch and his sons Lachlan and James yesterday.

Comcast's all-cash offer would be "superior" to the stock agreement with Disney valued at some $52 billion, according to the proposal unveiled yesterday.

The statement pointed out that Comcast and Fox had been in talks before the Murdochs reached the deal with Disney, which is being submitted for a shareholder vote July 10.

The news comes a day after a federal judge approved a massive $85 billion takeover by telecom-broadband giant AT&T or media-entertainment conglomerate Time Warner that could reshape the media and communications landscape.

The approved ended a heated antitrust battle, and suggested Comcast would be able to clear any regulatory hurdles to a deal with Fox.

Comcast said any antitrust concerns should be eased by Tuesday's court ruling on AT&T and that its offer "should be as or more likely to receive international approvals, given our relatively small presence outside the US."

Comcast is also offering a breakup fee of $2.5 billion if the deal is not consummated, matching the offer from Disney.

ALSO READ: As Comcast, Disney face possible Fox bidding war, spotlight on Star India

The deal focuses on the famed Fox Hollywood film and television studios, along with its cable entertainment networks and international TV businesses.

It became possible when Rupert Murdoch, 87, and his son decided to slim down the media empire, leaving them with a "New Fox" that includes the Fox News Channel, the Fox broadcast network and sports cable operations.

Comcast said the deal offers "superior and more certain value as compared to Disney's all-stock offer.

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