Disney might have just been outfoxed by Comcast in its quest to acquire 21st Century Fox. The cable giant has entered a $65 billion all-cash bid for Fox properties that many expect will spark a bidding war between themselves and Disney, who late last year offered $52.4 billion in stock for the properties.
Comcast was rumored to be interested in bidding for much of this year, and it formally announced the bid in a statement it released on Wednesday evening. According to the New York Times, the Comcast bid is not only worth more than Disney’s initial offer but also has financial fail-safes in place in case the deal is not deemed legal by the government:
In December, Disney struck a $52.4 billion, all-stock deal for Fox’s assets. Comcast, whose roughly $60 billion offer for the Fox assets was rebuffed last year, is now including contractual assurances such as a reverse breakup fee — worth about $2.5 billion — in the event a transaction is blocked by the government.
At $35 a share, Comcast’s new offer is about 19 percent higher than Disney’s proposal, according to its statement.
According to the Times, Comcast executives wanted to wait until a federal judge ruled on the legality of a massive merger between AT&T and Time Warner. That deal was approved on Monday, giving the largest cable company in the United States optimism that a similar deal for a large number of Fox’s assets would potentially go through.