Wednesday morning, Comcast confirmed an open secret: The company is preparing an all-cash offer for 21st Century Fox that it says is “superior” to Disney’s current $52.4 billion deal to acquire most of Fox’s assets.
Comcast said any offer for Fox would be at a “premium to the value of the current all-share offer from Disney,” but it didn’t reveal an anticipated price tag. The media conglomerate added that the structure and terms of its bid for the 21st Century Fox assets—including regulatory-risk provisions and the termination fee it would be required to pay—would be “at least as favorable to Fox shareholders as the Disney offer.”
The cable giant, which owns NBCUniversal, had in December bowed out of the bidding process just before Fox accepted the Disney deal, which includes the 20th Century Fox movie and TV studio, all the international pay-TV properties including its stake in Sky, as well as a number of other assets.
The trigger for Wednesday morning’s announcement, Comcast said, was the filing of SEC documents by Fox and Disney in preparation for special shareholder meetings. The summer meetings are when 21st Century Fox and Disney shareholders are expected to vote on the proposed $52.4 billion acquisition of the Fox assets—neither company has specified a date as yet for its vote.