Comcast ponders new bid for 21st Century Fox: US media

Comcast Center in Philadelphia PA against clouds and a blue sky. andrewhuynh265 | iStock

Comcast Center in Philadelphia PA against clouds and a blue sky. andrewhuynh265 | iStock

A renewed bid for 21st Century Fox assets is being contemplated by media giant Comcast, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Comcast's bid was reportedly around $60 billion, but there were concerns that the deal could face antitrust challenges.

The Murdoch family, which controls Fox, preferred a deal with Disney because it would rather be paid in Disney than Comcast stock, and expects a potential deal with Disney to be cleared by US antitrust regulators more easily, sources told Reuters in December. The assets for the deal included the Twentieth Century Fox movie and TV studio, global pay TV properties, and some USA cable networks and were made available to both parties.

Many analysts believed any deal between Comcast and Fox would be viewed as a "vertical" deal, meaning a portion of the business - in this case, Fox's cable TV channels to a company that already was in that business - would represent too much of a power consolidation.

It said Comcast would be willing to offer Fox guarantees, including withdrawing certain assets such as local sports channels to avoid too heavy a concentration in television, to ensure the United States government approves the deal. Comcast, Disney and Fox gave no immediate comment.

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