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If Comcast is to follow up a surprise $31 billion bid for British broadcaster Sky by revisiting earlier takeover interest in much of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, top execs on Tuesday declined to talk about a renewed bid against The Walt Disney Company.
“We’re here strictly to talk about Sky,” Comcast senior vp and CFO Michael Cavanagh told a morning analyst call. Cavanagh and Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts were asked about persistent Wall Street chatter over a potential new Comcast takeover offer for parts of Fox.
That follows Comcast in December pulling a $60 billion offer over anti-trust concerns just before Walt Disney unveiled its $52.4 billion deal for much of 21st Century Fox, which remains in play. Cavanagh appeared mindful of the U.K. regulatory gauntlet that awaits any successful Comcast deal for Sky when he responded.
“We just can’t speculate beyond…the takeover panel rules here that we’re going to be respectful of through this whole process. We can’t speak for what other people may or may not do,” he said. “It’s not for us, here today, to go beyond the fact that we have a superior proposal on the table that we’re quite proud of.”
Fox accepted the Disney deal, which includes the 20th Century Fox movie and TV studio, all the international pay TV properties including its stake in Sky, as well as a number of other assets.
MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett in an investors note said the prospect of Comcast making a topping bid for Fox continues to weigh on the company’s share price. “Perhaps worst of all, this morning’s bid doesn’t really put to rest the idea that they might still try a topping bid for Fox’s U.S. assets, including the rest of Sky, if the AT&T/Time Warner deal is approved,” he wrote.
At the same time, other Wall Street watchers venture that, if Comcast pursued the Fox assets last year to get its hand on Sky, it may not have to mount a renewed bid for Fox.
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