According to Reuters, Comcast has asked investment banks to extend a debt facility to the company by as much as US$60 billion, enabling it to make a cash offer for the parts of Fox that Disney is preparing to purchase for US$52 billion.
While Comcast's shares have fallen since Disney announced its bid for 21st Century Fox, the cable company believes that it has a better chance with an all-cash bid, even if Rupert Murdoch prefers Disney's shares.
The latest move shows how AT&T's controversial bid for Time Warner, which owns media properties including Warner Bros and HBO, has rattled telecom and media competitors such as Comcast, which are anxious AT&T would become a dominant market force if allowed to acquire Time Warner.
It's clear that the AT&T-Time Warner trial prompted Comcast to try to steal the Fox deal out from under Disney. Comcast, Fox and Disney declined to comment.
However, that deal may soon be off the table, as Comcast has started a bidding war not only for the acquisition of the Britain based satellite group Sky, but reportedly began discussions to find a way to beat Disney to the punch in acquiring Fox.
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Disney in December had offered to buy film, television and global businesses from Fox for $52.4 billion in stock to beef up its offering against streaming rivals Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc.
Last November, it actually offered to acquire most of Fox's assets in an all-stock deal valued at $34.41 per share, or $64 billion. Disney, Fox, and Comcast each own 30 percent of Hulu; Time Warner owns the other 10 percent.
NBCUniversal's owner is awaiting the outcome of the AT&T and Time Warner merger, which is opposed by the Trump administration, before it proceeds.
If Disney can get past this Comcast roadblock and seal the deal with Fox, "it will be a major driver of future growth for the entertainment heavyweight, supporting the company's foray into online streaming business in a big way", wrote Anwar. That bid would be a total and complete acquisition, and thus on top of its heftier $85 billion comes with real concern about monopolies, oligarchies, and antitrust laws.
KitGuru Says: While both buyouts are inherently monopolistic, Disney has the edge with its pre-established world that naturally connects to a variety of Fox's content.