The largest USA cable operator said it was in advanced stages of readying a bid that would be superior to Disney's all-stock offer. The deal would go a long way in allowing it to better compete with technology companies in the entertainment business. Disney and Fox would control 50 percent of the box office if they joined forces.
Comcast has not said officially how much it will bid for the Fox assets, but analysts say it could be 15 percent to 25 percent higher than Disney's offer.
"While no final decision has been made, at this point the work to finance the all-cash offer and make the key regulatory filings is well advanced", Comcast said in a statement.
The statement continued, "The structure and terms of any offer by Comcast, including with respect to both the spin-off of "New Fox" and the regulatory risk provisions and the related termination fee, would be at least as favorable to Fox shareholders as the Disney offer".
Comcast put in a $60bn bid for Fox a year ago, a 16% premium to Disney's offer, but Rupert Murdoch rejected it, citing regulatory concerns and share structure. Fox shares gained 1.6% to $37.88 on moderately increased trading volume. This is the most outright confirmation by Comcast so far of its intentions to swipe Fox away from Disney.
It is understood that any bid for Fox, which does not include assets such as Fox News and Fox Sports which are being spun-off separately by the Murdochs, will have no impact on Comcast's bid for Sky. Comcast said it would offer to buy the same assets after the spinoff of what has been dubbed "New Fox".
Comcast disclosed its game plan Wednesday because it believed that the Rupert Murdoch-controlled 21st Century Fox was rushing to hold a special shareholders meeting to seek approval for the Disney offer. The Department of Justice has sued to block AT&T's $85 billion deal for Time Warner.
Larry Downes, project director at the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy, said Comcast's interest highlights the fact that content is becoming more important as ways to deliver content proliferate. Disney is offering $52 billion in stock.