Comcast made a $65 billion bid Wednesday for Fox's entertainment businesses, setting up a battle with Disney to become the next mega-media company, the AP reports. The bid comes just a day after a federal judge cleared AT&T's takeover of Time Warner and rejected the government's argument that it would hurt competition in cable and satellite TV and jack up costs to consumers for streaming TV and movies. The ruling signaled that Comcast could win regulatory approval, too; its bid for Fox shares many similarities with the AT&T-Time Warner deal. Comcast says its cash bid is 19% higher than the value of Disney offer as of Wednesday. The Wall Street Journal and others reported earlier that Comcast had lined up $60 billion in cash to challenge Disney for media mogul Rupert Murdoch's company. Disney's offer was for $52.5 billion when it was made in December, though the final value will depend on the stock price at the closing.
The battle for Twenty-First Century Fox comes as traditional entertainment companies try to amass more content to compete better with technology companies such as Amazon and Netflix for viewers' attention—and dollars. If the Comcast bid succeeds, a major cable distributor would control even more channels on its lineup and those of its rivals. That could lead to higher cable bills or make it more difficult for online alternatives to emerge, though there is not yet evidence of either happening following other mergers. Fox shareholders are set to vote on the Disney bid on July 10. Despite Comcast's higher offer, it's not immediately clear whether Fox's board would entertain it. According to regulatory filings, an unnamed company, widely thought to be Comcast, previously made an offer for Fox. But Fox went with Disney because of concerns it would face more regulatory scrutiny with the other company. That was before the judge's ruling in AT&T's favor.
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