Comcast on Wednesday formally acknowledged its interest in a potential all-cash offer to buy select 21st Century Fox assets right out from under the nose of the Walt Disney Company.
“In view of the recent filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission by The Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox, Inc. in preparation for their upcoming shareholder meetings to consider the acquisition of Fox by Disney, Comcast Corporation confirms that it is considering, and is in advanced stages of preparing, an offer for the businesses that Fox has agreed to sell to Disney (which do not include the Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Broadcasting Company and certain other assets),” reads a Comcast statement released Wednesday morning.
“Any offer for Fox would be all-cash and at a premium to the value of the current all-share offer from Disney,” Comcast added. “The structure and terms of any offer by Comcast, including with respect to both the spinoff of ‘New Fox’ and the regulatory risk provisions and the related termination fee, would be at least as favorable to Fox shareholders as the Disney offer.”
Comcast said that “no final decision has been made” as to whether to proceed with the takeover bid, but that “the work to finance the all-cash offer and make the key regulatory filings is well advanced.”
In December, Comcast’s mostly stock bid of $60 billion for a large portion of 21st Century Fox assets was rejected by Fox management, headed by Rupert Murdoch, in favor of a $52 billion all-stock offer from The Walt Disney Company.
But earlier this month, it was reported that Comcast secured a $60 billion bridge loan from its creditors and is closely following an upcoming court decision that will determine if AT&T can buy Time Warner Inc. for $85.4 billion. 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 has reportedly asked investment bankers to increase its credit line by as much as $60 billion so it can make an all-cash offer for the assets 21st Century Fox has already agreed to sell to Disney.
Reuters cited three anonymous sources as saying Comcast has asked for an increase in its bridge financing facility.