Comcast seriously considering Fox counteroffer, WSJ says

Comcast Center headquarters in Philadelphia. Image: Comcast
Comcast officials are waiting to get a look at Disney’s regulatory strategy for the deal, which will be made in a shareholder filing before the summer. (Comcast)

Comcast is seriously considering re-entering a bidding war with The Walt Disney Company over select 21st Century Fox assets.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Comcast executives are considering the revival of their Fox quest, which was originally stopped in December when Fox accepted $54.2 billion in stock for its film businesses, including Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox 2000. Also included were television creative units Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Productions and Fox 21; and cable channels FX Networks, National Geographic Partners, Fox Sports Regional Networks and Fox Networks Group International, 

In addition to Fox’s 30% stake in Hulu, Disney is also getting international assets including Star India, Tata Sky, Endemol Shine Group and Sky plc.

It’s the latter asset that is reportedly of particular charm to Comcast, which actually bid more than Disney, but was turned down because Fox chief Rupert Murdoch had concerns about Comcast’s ability to get regulatory clearance for the deal. 

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According to the Wall Street Journal, who spoke to unidentified sources, Comcast officials are waiting to get a look at Disney’s regulatory strategy for the deal, which will be made in a shareholder filing before the summer. 

Based on this information, Comcast may be able to create a counter-proposal that eases Murdoch’s regulatory concerns. Comcast could, for example, remove assets from the deal that spur antitrust fears. 

With the Justice Department’s antitrust case against AT&T in its bid to acquire Time Warner Inc. looking flimsier by the day, Comcast hopes to match its biggest telecom rival with its own content deal.