Fox board to discuss Comcast bid on Wednesday

Bob Iger and Rupert Murdoch
While Disney chief Bob Iger (right) and 21st Century Fox Chairman Lachlan Murdoch agreed to a merger deal in December, the Fox board will meet on Wednesday to discuss whether they should consider an alternative merger proposal from Comcast instead. (Disney)

Rupert Murdoch and the rest of the 21st Century Fox board will meet on Wednesday to discuss Comcast’s $65 billion all-cash bid for the company, numerous news outlets have confirmed. 

The meeting is a regularly scheduled event but reportedly adopted a specific purpose after Comcast formalized and codified its alternative offer last week for select Fox assets, the same ones Fox agreed to sell to the Walt Disney Company in December. 

Comcast’s all-cash offer is more than 20% higher in value than Disney’s all-stock bid. 

Fox said last week that it would “carefully review” Comcast’s unsolicited offer. 

RELATED: Comcast makes formal $65B bid for Fox, confidently includes massive breakup fee

In a letter to the Murdoch family outlining the offer, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said  Comcast’s board of directors had unanimously approved the offer, meaning the deal doesn’t have to be run by shareholders, where dissonance toward the company’s M&A activities is running high. 

“Because of your decision to schedule the vote on the Disney merger proposal for July 10, time is of the essence for your consideration of our proposal,” Roberts added. 

The cable conglomerate also said that it had already tendered its Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust filing with the Justice Department, and it expects the DOJ’s antitrust review process to flow congruently with that which has been scheduled for Disney. Comcast said it expects to close the deal 12 months after Fox signs on to it.

Comcast’s $4 billion-plus breakup commitment expresses regulatory confidence from a cable company that was stopped cold by the FCC and DOJ three years ago from buying Time Warner Cable. 

“We think our deal is as or more likely to achieve approval as the Disney transaction,” Comcast CFO Mike Cavanagh said in an investor conference call last week. He added, “While we weren’t looking for this deal, it presents a rare strategic moment.”