Despite the fact that Comcast has submitted a much higher bid for Fox's media assets, Disney may still end up with the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchise rights. Disney already has an agreement in place to purchase the majority of Fox's assets valued at $52 billion. However, Comcast recently submitted an unsolicited offer of $65 billion. That has put the Disney deal in jeopardy and could start a bidding war, but it may not be so simple as winner take all.
Fox is selling all of their movie studio 20th Century Fox, which includes all of their Marvel character rights, their stake in international broadcaster Sky, their stake in Hulu, a host of regional sports channels, FX and National Geographic. According to B. Riley analyst Barton Crockett, it's expected that Disney will match Comcast's offer which will lead to something of a back and forth. Here's what he had to say.
"We would expect Disney to at least match Comcast by adding cash, and Comcast to appease [Rupert] Murdoch's tax concerns by offering stock, and some back and forth raising the deal bid."
While Comcast's all-cash offer has seemed more appealing, at least on the surface, than Disney's stock offer, it actually appears as though Fox would prefer stock, according to Crockett. That adds another layer to the situation, no doubt. Unless someone else emerges as a new bidder, which is possible but unlikely, this could result in a split of what 21st Century Fox has on the table. Disney would potentially get to bring their Marvel characters home to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in addition to the majority of the other assets on the table, while Comcast would get a stake in Sky. Everyone is happy. At least those involved in the sale.
"Barring a third entrant (Internet/tech is possible), we would see the most sensible outcome as splitting the baby, with Comcast getting Sky (which we see as its main goal) and Disney getting most of the rest."
Comcast submitted this bid as a result of the AT&T merger with Time Warner being approved by a federal Judge earlier this week. That has opened the floodgates for future mergers of this type. That means we're likely in for a major shake-up in media, with lots of mergers expected to take place beyond the Fox deal, ultimately consolidating the media landscape. While there could be positives, like getting to see Wolverine hanging out with The Avengers, there are concerns many have over this type of consolidation.
The future, in the more grand sense, is very much uncertai for X-Men and Fantastic Four. For now, those in the media world are waiting to see what Fox is going to do and if Disney is going to try and outmuscle Comcast. Someone is going to end up with those assets, it's just a question of who at this point and how much exactly they're going to end up paying in order to get them. This news comes to us courtesy of CNBC.