United States cable company Comcast on Wednesday launched a hostile $65-billion (Rs 4.39 lakh crore) bid for media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s firm 21st Century Fox, a day after a court rejected the US government’s objections to telecom company AT&T’s takeover of Fox’s rival Time Warner, The Guardian reported.
In December, Fox struck an all-stock deal with Disney worth $52.4 billion (Rs 3.36 lakh crore), shortly after rebuffing an offer from Comcast – the largest cable company and broadband provider in the United States – that was worth roughly $60 billion, all in stock. In February, Comcast submitted a £22.1-billion (approximately Rs 2 lakh crore) bid to buy British broadcasting company Sky, challenging an existing offer from Murdoch’s company.
In a statement, Fox said it would carefully review the “unsolicited” offer.
The bidding war reflects an industry under threat from Silicon Valley, where technology companies such as Netflix and Amazon that increasingly have more viewers, advertisement money and creative talent. Disney has announced that it will launch its own Netflix-like streaming services this year.
There is ill will between Disney and Comcast. In 2004, Comcast tried to buy Disney, but the company’s board rejected the offer. Disney’s Chief Executive Robert Iger has staked his legacy on this deal and extended his tenure at the helm of the company till 2021. “Comcast seems hellbent on winning this time, and I think the narrative in Philadelphia is that Brian should have listened to his gut in 2004 and bought Disney,” media analyst Craig Moffett told The New York Times, referring to Comcast’s Chief Executive Brian L Roberts. “He seems very personally committed to this.”