Rupert Murdoch and the board of directors at 21st Century Fox are set to gather and discuss whether to accept Comcast’s $65 billion bid for the assets it had planned to sell to Disney.
The meeting is scheduled to take place on June 20, according to a Bloomberg report, a week after Comcast submitted its bid valuing Fox’s assets at 19 percent more than the $52.4 billion Disney proposed.
A Fox spokesman declined to comment to TheWrap.
Comcast’s offer came after the U.S. Department of Justice lost its antitrust case against AT&T and Time Warner earlier in the week — pushing the buyout speculation into overdrive.
In his proposal to Fox head honcho Rupert Murdoch, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts pointed to the favorable AT&T-Time Warner ruling as a sign that any previous regulatory concerns about the merger no longer mattered.
“We are also highly confident that our proposed transaction will obtain all necessary regulatory approvals in a timely manner and that our transaction is as or more likely to receive regulatory approval than the Disney transaction,” said Roberts.
Fox is scheduled to host a shareholder meeting on July 10, which could be pushed back now due to Comcast’s bid. During the July meeting, shareholders were originally suppose to vote on whether to accept Disney’s proposal.
The Fox board, likely at its meeting on June 20, will have to decide whether to recommend that shareholders accept the Comcast bid. If they do, and Disney hasn’t already upped its offer, then Disney would have five days to put together a new bid.
The question now becomes whether Disney, having gone this far down the road on the Fox acquisition, will increase its own offer. The Mouse House offered $52.4 billion in stock for Fox back in December, as it prepares to launch its own streaming service next year to rival Netflix. The Fox assets, which include film and TV franchises like “X-Men,” “Fantastic Four” and “The Simpsons,” would bolster its slate of content. At the same time, ESPN — which is owned by Disney — would grab Fox’s 22 regional sports networks for its budding streaming service.