PHILADELPHIA – Comcast is interested in buying 21st Century Fox if the Justice Department loses its court challenge to block AT&T’s $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, according to Fox Business reporter Charlie Gasparino.
The move would spark a bidding war with Disney. Disney announced in December that it will purchase the bulk of 21st Century Fox’s assets for more than $52 billion.
Sources on Wall Street reportedly told Gasparino that Comcast CEO Brian Roberts believes if the DOJ loses the trial, he can make a higher bid for the Fox assets.
Gasparino told Neil Cavuto on "Cavuto: Coast to Coast" that Roberts “still desires the Fox assets being purchased by Disney.” Spokespeople for Comcast and 21st Century Fox, the parent of FOX Business and Fox News, have not commented.
The trial over the Justice Department’s lawsuit to end AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner has ended, but a verdict may not be released for another month. Analysts and industry insiders say AT&T has a strong chance of winning the case.
MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett notes that while he still thinks AT&T has a 50-50 chance, many believe the odds are better than that.
“By most accounts, however, the trial has gone very well for AT&T. For the record, we’re still calling it a toss-up, but the general consensus is that we’re being too cautious; most observers seem to give AT&T 75-percent-or-better odds of winning in court,” Moffett wrote in a research note.
As for Disney’s deal with Fox, Disney will take ownership of film businesses (including Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures, and Fox 2000) and television creative units Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Productions, and Fox 21. Disney will also acquire FX Networks, National Geographic Partners, Fox Sports Regional Networks, Fox Networks Group International, Star India, and Fox’s interests in Hulu, Sky plc, Tata Sky, and Endemol Shine Group.