Entertaiment

Comcast Attempts to Outbid Disney For Fox

Comcast Attempts to Outbid Disney For Fox

A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that AT&T can move forward with its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner.

Ryan Radia, a research fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a right-of-center think tank in Washington, praised the ruling.

Comcast on Wednesday offered $65 billion for key film and television assets of Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox, topping an offer from Walt Disney Co. for a deal that could create a dominant media-entertainment power.

The US Department of Justice-the nation's antitrust authority-sued to block the deal late past year, arguing that Time Warner's media brands like HBO, Warner Bros., and CNN would give AT&T outsized power, hurt competition, and lead to higher prices for consumers. "They know what the government is concerned about", he said. He said the merger "would unlawfully raise prices for cable-TV subscribers and harm online innovation".

But Leon blocked discovery on certain White House communications that AT&T and Time Warner were seeking, and the companies dropped that defense, choosing to litigate the case on pure antitrust grounds. 21st Century Fox already agreed in December to sell those assets to Disney, which include all of the movie studio 20th Century Fox, a stake in Hulu, their stake in global broadcaster Sky and many regional sports channels, among other assets.

Comcast Attempts to Outbid Disney For Fox
Comcast Attempts to Outbid Disney For Fox

It is worth remembering that the Justice Department is reviewing the T-Mobile/Sprint combination, and the Justice Department did not approve AT&T's purchase of Time Warner.

Other deals are expected in the wake of Tuesday's ruling, with Verizon on the hunt for a content company, Lionsgate in search of a buyer and any one of several scenarios playing out in the long-running drama over CBS and Viacom. Should this happen, it would merge the likes of NBC and Universal with FX and 20th Century Fox. And because Comcast has less of a presence outside the United States, the company expects it can get global clearance easily. Some suspected, however, that the real motivation behind the DOJ's case may be personal and political agenda of Donald Trump himself: He sees CNN as his political nemesis, and CNN is owned by Time Warner.

Attorneys for AT&T and Time Warner argued that it would be absurd for them to deny their shows to millions of viewers, because it would cost them millions in lost broadcast fees and advertising revenues.

Trump, who despises CNN, had threatened to kill the deal when it first surfaced in October 2016, when he was a presidential candidate. The cable provider planned to approach Fox investors and has told the Justice Department of its interest, an early step in addressing potential antitrust concerns, according to a person familiar with the matter. "It looks bad to lose", said Radia.





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