Comcast prepares to duel with Disney over Rupert Murdoch's company — Fox hunt

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Comcast Looks to Disrupt Disney-Fox Deal With All-Cash Offer

While it sounds like Comcast could be throwing a wrench in the Walt Disney Company's plans to acquire the entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox, Disney CEO Bob Iger isn't anxious.

If the merger between Disney and 21st Century Fox goes through, the former will absorb much of the latter's entertainment companies including the Twentieth Century Fox Film and Television studios. Cable giant Comcast Corp.is making preparations to potentially pursue a hostile, all-cash bid for these assets, and has lined up the necessary financing, people familiar with the matter say.

Murdoch, the chairman of Fox as well as the U.K.'s Sky, was expected to take up a senior executive position at Disney if and when the deal closed.

Arguments in the antitrust case against the deal concluded last week, with the judge saying he would announce his ruling on June 12.

Comcast, who initially cited sturdy stock as a reason for 21st Century Fox to accept their deal instead of The Walt Disney Company's, has seen shares fall about 15 percent since Disney announced their bid for Fox.

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Separately, on another track, Comcast and Fox are each vying for full control of Sky and have lobbed in bids. Once seen as a sure thing purchase by The Walt Disney Company, with Comcast talking to investment banks about putting in a bid for 21st Century Fox, Disney's acquisition of 21st Century Fox is now in peril. A Comcast bid, should it materialise, would eclipse Disney's $US52.4-billion ($70 billion) proposal. Comcast's offer was a 16% premium to Disney's, according to a securities filing and people close to the deal talks.

A venture fund is one of several new opportunities James Murdoch has been considering, some of the people said. The cable company believes an all-cash offer would be compelling to most Fox shareholders.

Late Monday, Reuters reported that Comcast was lining up financing to make an all-cash bid for Fox's vaunted TV and movie studio, FX, National Geographic channels, almost two dozen regional sports networks and control of the online streaming service Hulu.

Comcast shares have been under pressure in recent months.

John Nallen, now the chief financial officer of 21st Century Fox, is expected to become the chief operating officer of the so-called New Fox, the people said.

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