Offbeat Comcast-Disney fight highlights shifting media landscape

18:06  14 june  2018
18:06  14 june  2018 Source:   msn.com

Now that AT&T has been cleared to buy Time Warner, here's what happens next

  Now that AT&T has been cleared to buy Time Warner, here's what happens next <p>On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon ruled that AT&amp;T could buy Time Warner with no conditions attached, denying a U.S. Department of Justice antitrust challenge to the deal.</p>The DOJ could still appeal, but assuming it doesn't, here's what happens next.

The media landscape used to be straightforward: Content companies — studios — made stuff — TV shows and movies — and sold it to pay TV distributors, who sold it to consumers.

Thought-provoking Financial, Market Strategy, Media , Restructuring, and Telecom Research and Commentary from Analysts at BTIG.

That didn't take long.

A day after a federal judge cleared the way for AT&T's takeover of Time Warner, Comcast made a bold all-cash $65 billion offer for Fox assets, setting up a clash with Disney and becoming the first big media company to attempt what is expected to be a spate of new megamergers.

The battle for Twenty-First Century Fox reflects a new imperative among entertainment and telecommunications firms, which are amassing ever more programming to better compete with technology companies such as Amazon and Netflix for viewers' attention — and dollars. Comcast's offer shows that it's willing to bet big to try to get its hands on the right content creators and distributors.

Is Comcast-Fox a done deal after AT&T-Time Warner win?

  Is Comcast-Fox a done deal after AT&T-Time Warner win? Comcast will likely bid for Fox's entertainment business as early as Wednesday now that a federal judge has cleared AT&amp;T's $85 billion takeover of Time Warner. If Comcast succeeds in outbidding Disney for Fox, a major cable distributor would control even more channels on its lineup and those of its rivals. There are fears that it could lead to higher cable bills or hinder online alternatives.But U.S. District Judge Richard Leon cleared the AT&T deal Tuesday despite similar concerns.

"If Disney acquires the Fox assets they are trying to buy, it will give Disney unprecedented control of the legacy media landscape ." Comcast would, like Disney , highlight that owning large parts of Fox would allow it to boost original content spending across its business, including Fox networks, and reap

Share The media merger wars are on. Next up: Comcast ’s bid to undercut Disney ’s purchase of Fox. To be in the media business now is a zero-sum game since there’s little more room to grow in the U.S. That’s why the merger landscape has turned into a fight for assets.

In a call with investors, CEO Brian Roberts said the marriage of Fox and Comcast would create the "entertainment company of the future."

Comcast says its bid is 19 percent higher than Disney's $52.5 billion stock offer made in December, although the final value will depend on Disney's share price at the closing. Fox said it would review Comcast's offer. Shareholders were set to vote on Disney's offer on July 10, but Fox is considering whether to postpone or cancel that meeting.

On Tuesday, Judge Richard Leon rejected the government's argument that the AT&T deal would hurt competition in cable and satellite TV and jack up costs to consumers for streaming TV and movies. His ruling signaled that Comcast can most likely win regulatory approval as well.

Comcast offers to buy Fox media assets for $65 billion in cash

  Comcast offers to buy Fox media assets for $65 billion in cash <p>Comcast offered $65 billion Wednesday for Twenty-First Century Fox media assets, emboldened by AT&amp;T's prevailing over the Trump administration's attempt to block a merger with Time Warner</p>The all-cash offer for Fox's movie and TV studios and other assets including the X-Men franchise, opens a war with Walt Disney Co, which has bid $52 billion in stock.

Besides the coming fight over 21st Century Fox, CBS and Viacom are locked in a will-they or won’t-they situation, hinging on one of the Tagged 21st Century Fox Comcast Corporation Iger, Robert A Media Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestitures Murdoch, Rupert Roberts, Brian L Walt Disney Company.

Comcast is in an awkward position at a time when the media landscape is shifting . In entertainment content rival AT&T has taken the biggest prize, Time Warner, subject to an antitrust fight .

"This is a golden offer that will put considerable pressure on (Disney CEO Bob) Iger and Disney to step up their game on another bid," GBH Insights analyst Dan Ives said. The higher-than-expected bid, he said, "speaks to Comcast really wanting these key assets."

If the Comcast bid succeeds, it would give a major cable distributor control over 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, although so far there's no evidence of either happening following other mergers.

Entertainment programming is becoming more important as ways to deliver it to consumers proliferate. Cable companies like Comcast are no longer competing only with satellite alternatives such as DirecTV, but also stand-alone services such as Netflix and cable-like online bundles through Sony, AT&T and others.

Cramer: No matter who wins the Fox battle, Disney and Comcast are both 'substantially undervalued'

  Cramer: No matter who wins the Fox battle, Disney and Comcast are both 'substantially undervalued' Jim Cramer explains how the market is revaluing the stocks of Disney and Comcast amid a bidding war for a chunk of Twenty-First Century Fox.Load Error

Walt Disney 's deal to buy movie and TV assets from 21st Century Fox will make the Magic Kingdom one of the world's top media conglomerates. 1:08 World. Protests continue as Jordan shifts leadership.

Walt Disney 's deal to buy movie and TV assets from 21st Century Fox will make the Magic Kingdom one of the world's top media conglomerates. Press CTRL+C (Windows), CMD+C (Mac), or long-press the URL below on your mobile device to copy the code.

Disney has already started its own sports streaming service. It plans another entertainment-focused one service next year featuring movies and shows from its own studios, which include Marvel, Pixar and "Star Wars" creator Lucasfilm.

With the Fox deal, Disney would be able to bulk up those services with the studios behind the Avatar movies, "The Simpsons" and "Modern Family," along with National Geographic. Disney's Marvel unit would get back the characters it previously licensed to Fox, reuniting the X-Men with the Avengers.

Comcast, meanwhile, has been leading the way in marrying pipes with the entertainment that flows through them. It bought NBCUniversal's cable channels and movie studio in 2013 and added Dreamworks Animation in 2016.

With Fox, Comcast would expand a portfolio that already includes U.S. television rights to the Olympics and comedy offerings such as "Saturday Night Live." Comcast already owns such cable channels as CNBC, Bravo and SyFy.

Whichever company prevails would also control Fox's cable and international TV businesses. That's key for Comcast, which currently doesn't have much of an international presence. The Fox television network and some cable channels including Fox News and Fox Business Network would stay with Murdoch's family under either deal, as with the newspaper and book businesses under a separate company, News Corp.

Cramer: No matter who wins the Fox battle, Disney and Comcast are both 'substantially undervalued'

  Cramer: No matter who wins the Fox battle, Disney and Comcast are both 'substantially undervalued' Jim Cramer explains how the market is revaluing the stocks of Disney and Comcast amid a bidding war for a chunk of Twenty-First Century Fox.Load Error

Comcast v. Disney : a fight for Twenty-First Century Fox. Disney ’s .4 billion bid would go a long way in allowing it to better compete with technology companies in the entertainment business.

AT&T’s victory shows the way forward for the media industry, which has grappled with a sharp slowdown in the past few years. “But at some point, if the bid is too high from Comcast ,” he said, “then Disney will have to walk away.”

Comcast could be insulated from antitrust concerns, but Disney might still be vulnerable. If Disney gets Fox, the combined movie studios would account for 45 percent of worldwide box office revenue, according to BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield. That could raise regulatory objections. A larger studio could use its power to keep its movies in more theaters longer, dampening competition from rival studios.

Disney and Comcast had already been at battle in the U.K. over Sky TV. Fox has a 39 percent stake in that company and has been trying to buy it outright, with the intention of selling the full company to Disney as part of that deal. U.K. regulators have given the OK to that offer if Fox sells Sky News. Regulators there also have cleared Comcast's $30.7 billion offer for the 61 percent of Sky that Murdoch doesn't own.

In addition to the $35-per-share cash offer, Comcast agreed to pay a $2.5 billion termination fee if the deal doesn't pass regulatory muster. It also agreed to reimburse Fox for the $1.5 billion-plus breakup fee it agreed to pay to Disney if their deal doesn't go through.

Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cramer: The market is saying there's no real loser in Disney and Comcast's battle for Fox assets .
Jim Cramer says the spoils would go to the loser and the winner of Disney and Comcast's brewing bidding war over key Twenty-First Century Fox assets.Fox reportedly called Disney's latest cash-and-stock bid of $71.3 billion, or $38 a share, "superior" to NBCUniversal parent Comcast's latest bid, an all-cash offer valued at $65 billion, or $35 a share.

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