Comcast Lining Up Financing for Hostile Offer of Fox Assets (Report)

Comcast 2008 Consumer Electronics Show Preview Brian L. Roberts - Getty - H 2018
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Reuters reports that NBCUniversal's parent company is readying a financing facility of $60 billion so it can make an all-cash offer.

Comcast is renewing its efforts to scupper Walt Disney Co.'s $52.4 billion deal to buy 21st Century Fox's media assets by readying a hostile all-cash offer, according to various media reports. 

Reuters reported Monday that Comcast was in the process of asking investment banks to put in place a bridge financing facility valued at as much as $60 billion. Three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that Comcast CEO Brian Roberts only planned to proceed with the hostile bid if federal authorities cleared the $85 billion AT&T-Time Warner deal. 

Late last year, Fox accepted a $52.4 billion deal with Disney, which included the sale of the 20th Century Fox movie and TV studio and all the international pay TV properties, including the stake in British broadcaster Sky, as well as a number of other assets. The pact did not include Fox's broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, sports channels FS1, FS2 and the Big Ten Network, with those assets to be spun into a new company controlled by the Murdoch family if the deal with Disney was completed. 

Comcast's initial bid for the Fox assets up for sale was reported to be higher at $64 billion, but was rejected by the company run by James Murdoch due to worries over antitrust issues. In February, Comcast was reportedly looking at reviving its failed bid for Fox, and reports on Monday suggested the company is securing the financing to outbid Disney.

As well as its aggressive pursuit of Fox assets, Comcast also made a $31 billion offer for 61 percent of Sky, topping Fox's bid for the shares in the company it didn't already own. Fox's bid for Sky has run into a number regulatory hurdles in the U.K., most notably over issues of media plurality and the future of Sky News. 

On Monday, CNBC reported that Comcast now planned to acquire 100 percent of Sky as part of an improved all-cash bid. Sources told CNBC that if a Comcast-Disney bidding war for Fox and Sky were to happen, Comcast's bid for both companies could near $100 billion.