We could be on the verge of witnessing one of the most expensive and important bidding wars in the history of the entertainment landscape. Disney and 21st Century Fox announced a $52 billion deal in December that will see the Mouse House acquire the vast majority of the company's assets. However, Comcast wants in on the action and, despite the fact that Fox isn't officially fielding new offers, Comcast has been prepping an all-cash offer valued at $60 billion to challenge Disney for those very same assets. Now, it looks like Comcast is set to formally announce their bid on Wednesday, pending one very important detail.
Today, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon will either approve or disapprove of AT&T's pending deal to acquire Time Warner. Assuming that deal is approved, Comcast feels confident that they can move forward with an offer for Fox's assets, which includes the movie studio 20th Century Fox, Nat Geo, the FX networks, quite a few regional sports channels, Fox's stake in Hulu, and their share in international broadcasters Star India and Sky. This could result in a bidding war between Comcast and Disney.
An important item of note is that Disney's $52 billion offer is a stock offer. If AT&T's deal is approved, it's expected that Disney's stock may take a hit, given the pending Comcast offer. Disney also hasn't declared whether or not they will make a higher offer to Fox, assuming they decided to instead entertain Comcast's much richer all-cash offer. It's a complicated situation, but one that will have major implications on the entertainment industry for years to come. This will literally reshape the media landscape.
For Disney, this is all about streaming. They would gain a majority stake in Hulu and would be able to seriously bolster their library for the streaming service that they're launching next year. Fans have primarily been concerned with the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool franchises, which Fox is still in control of. If the Disney deal proceeds, Marvel Studios will be in control of the characters moving forward. That means, in theory, we could see Wolverine and Captain America, or any combination of characters one can think of, on screen together. If Comcast beats out Disney's offer, then they will be in control of those properties.
Comcast was previously trying to purchase Fox's assets last year but the company opted to go with Disney, figuring that it represented a deal that had a better chance of being approved by regulators. While Comcast is offering more money, a penalty would have to be paid to Disney if the deal is scrapped and this new deal will erase the six months of work that have already been put in, taking things back to square one. The media world is eagerly awaiting the decision on the AT&T deal for Time Warner as it's a decision that will have major and immediate implications on the industry. This news comes to us courtesy of CNBC.