AT&T can buy Time Warner as judge shuts down Department of Justice

An hour later, as of 5:45 p.m. ET - after 21CF confirmed receipt of the offer and said it was evaluating the bid - Comcast was up 0.6%, Fox was roughly flat (down 0.05%) and Disney was down 0.3%. Part of the business will be used to create an entity called "New Fox", which will include the highly lucrative Fox News, the sports channels FS1 and FS2, and the Fox broadcasting channel.

Comcast was "disappointed when [21st Century Fox] made a decision to enter into a transaction with The Walt Disney Company, even though we had offered a meaningfully higher price", Roberts wrote. Disney's $52 billion offer is in stock, but Comcast will now officially offer Fox $60 billion in cash. "Opposition to the Time Warner acquisition marked an aggressive turn by the Justice Department, but one that could be short-lived if Leon rules against the government". The media world has been holding their breath for weeks, awaiting the final decision from Judge Richard Leon as to whether or not he would allow for the two companies to merge in a deal valued at more than $80 billion.

"21st Century Fox has not yet made a determination, in light of Comcast's proposal, as to whether it will postpone or adjourn the July 10, 2018 special meeting of stockholders to consider certain proposals related to the Disney Merger Agreement", said Fox's Rupert Murdoch in a statement today, via Deadline. Comcast's $35 per share offer, which represents a 19% premium on Disney's bid, could result in a result in a high-stakes bidding war for Fox's assets.

Variety is reporting that Comcast has offered $65 billion for 21st Century Fox's TV and studio assets, significantly topping Disney's bid by $12.6 billion - a substantial margin.

The ruling potentially closes a deal that was originally announced in October 2016. But Fox went with Disney because of concerns it would face more regulatory scrutiny with the other company.

Comcast readying new bid for 20th Century Fox film and TV assets

Still, the AT&T court fight gave Comcast valuable information about how to structure a Fox deal, said David Scharf, a litigation expert with Morrison Cohen.

The news comes a day after a federal judge approved a massive $85 billion takeover by telecom-broadband giant AT&T or media-entertainment conglomerate Time Warner that could reshape the media and communications landscape. AT&T argued that it needed to complete the merger to compete against media behemoths like Netflix and Amazon. T-Mobile's merger with Sprint is next on the block, and regulators will soon have to decide whether or not they'll challenge that deal.

That case was dismissed on Tuesday, giving new impetus to Comcast's proposal and perhaps many more deals like it in the not-too-distant future.

The tie-up would Wednesday largest U.S. pay-TV operator and the second-largest wireless phone carrier with Time Warner, owner of premium channel HBO, the Warner Bros studios, Cartoon Network and CNN.

  • Salvatore Jensen