In a CNBC article today regarding the status of an acquisition of Time Warner by AT&T, the network speculated that should that purchase be approved by regulators, it would leave the door open for other potential “big media” buyouts, including Comcast attempting to thwart The Walt Disney Company’s purchase of 21st Century Fox.
CNBC, which is owned by Comcast, says that no decision has been made, but Comcast could be considering outbidding Disney for the Fox assets. In fact, CNBC believes that Disney is already preparing itself for that situation, should it occur.
Comcast executives approached Fox’s Rupert Murdoch last year suggesting that they would may be willing to pay more than Disney, but due to regulatory concerns, Murdoch didn’t continue discussions. An approval of the AT&T-Time Warner deal could mean that a purchase of Fox by Comcast would pass regulatory muster.
Comcast sees Fox’s international business as a key to growth outside the United States.
On a recent conference call, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said, “Many of our peers are re-evaluating their strategies, so along the way, there may be opportunities for us to create more value for our shareholders, like we did with NBCUniversal. In this respect, it shouldn’t be a surprise that we study every situation that comes along.”
Currently, however, the AT&T-Time Warner deal is on hold, as the Justice Department is suing to block the $85 billion purchase. Should the US. District Court uphold the Justice Department’s attempt to block the AT&T-Time Warner deal, even the Disney offer could be in jeopardy.
CNBC worries that should the purchase be blocked, the decision could be appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which could cause “the media landscape to remain frozen for years.”