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Comcast Tops Disney With $65 Billion Bid for Fox Assets

The Wall Street Journal (June 14, Ramachandran, Schwartzel) confirms that Comcast Corp. on Wednesday made an unsolicited offer to purchase most of 21st Century Fox Inc. for around $65 billion. The move kicks off a bidding war with Walt Disney Co. as the two media giants vie for position in a business undergoing major changes. Comcast bid $35 a share in cash for the assets, which include from the storied 20th Century Fox movie studio to a stake in streaming company Hulu. The offer is a premium of almost 20 percent to Disney's all-stock offer for the same assets. It should be noted that neither bid includes Fox News, the Fox broadcast network and its TV stations, or Fox Sports 1. They will be spun off into a new company. "Fox confirmed it received Comcast's offer and said it would 'carefully review and consider' the proposal," notes the Journal. Disney, which had no comment on the bid as of press time, is reportedly lining up financing in the event it opts to counter Comcast's offer with new terms.

According to The Verge (June 13, Welch), the Comcast offer follows a federal court ruling Tuesday that approved AT&T Inc.'s acquisition of Time Warner Inc. The judge's decision in the case appeared to allay antitrust concerns regarding a Comcast bid for Fox. Comcast said yesterday that it is "highly confident that our proposed transaction will obtain all necessary regulatory approvals in a timely manner and that our transaction is as or more likely to receive regulatory approval than the Disney transaction."

In fact, National Public Radio (June 13, Schneider) adds, Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts sp