As the AT&T/Time Warner merger continues to be in limbo, there’s one company that’s keeping a close eye on the potential deal. That company would be Comcast.
Why Comcast? Because it’s hoping to do a megadeal itself. If the Feds approve AT&T/Time Warner, Comcast could then turn around and try to outbid Disney for 21st Century Fox.
CNBC reports that Comcast hasn’t made a decision to go for Fox as of yet, but is mulling it over. And Disney is preparing for just that possibility should Comcast go for Fox.
Last month, Disney and Fox announced an agreement that would sell Fox’s TV and film assets, regional sports networks and international holdings. Comcast was willing to offer more than what Disney was offering, but Fox Executive Co-Chair Rupert Murdoch went with the Mouse over regulatory concerns with Comcast.
CNBC says Comcast is particularly interested in Fox’s international businesses in Europe and Asia. Fox’s international holdings include Sky in the U.K. and Star in India.
But even if Comcast does get Fox to agree to accept its bid, there are several regulatory hurdles to clear. And with Disney already having a foot in the door with Fox, it may take a really high bid to get Fox’s shareholders to agree to a new deal.
One part of the Disney/Fox deal that helped to sweeten the pot was the Fox Sports Nets that would become ESPNs regional networks. If Comcast were to obtain Fox, those networks would fall under the auspices of NBC Sports.
There are a lot of “if’s” to become reality for Comcast to even get to the point of bidding for Fox. First, the AT&T/Time Warner deal has to get past the courts and then gain federal approval. Second, if that happens, Comcast has to dangle its cash in front of Fox’s shareholders and Disney could certainly match or top that bid. And third, even if Comcast’s offer is accepted, it would undergo even more federal scrutiny.
So there’s a long way to go for Comcast, but it seems to be patiently biding its time for now.