Comcast Will Likely Counter Disney’s Latest Offer for Fox, Analysts Say

Disney upped its bid this week. Now the ball is in Brian Roberts’s court. Here’s why the bidding war isn’t over yet.

Comcast Center in Philadelphia, PA against clouds and a blue sky. andrewhuynh265 | iStock

In a blow to Comcast, Walt Disney upped its offer in the bidding war for 21st Century Fox this week. The company raised its offer to about $71.3 billion in cash and stock — a 36 percent increase over its original $52.4 billion bid. The new offer is also a nine percent premium over Comcast’s $65 billion all-cash offer.

Though Walt Disney swiftly submitted the new offer — it was believed that Fox’s board would first negotiate with Comcast then give Disney a chance to respond — analysts say this is likely not the end of the bidding war.

UBS analyst John Hodulik told Deadline, “We believe another counteroffer from Comcast for Fox is likely,” arguing that Comcast could increase its cash offer for Fox to $45 a share without packing on too much debt.

Comcast likely won’t back down easily with “its pay- TV business under pressure,” said the Wall Street Journal. The company could really use Fox’s assets to “diversify and gain scale,” and “there are no other media assets as desirable as those at 21st Century Fox,” the publication said.

The question that remains is how high Comcast is willing to go. Bidding could reach up to $80 billion, according to the WSJ, with Comcast offering a 10 percent premium over Disney’s latest bid.

Comcast’s current $65 billion all-cash bid for Fox was expected to push its debt load to $170 billion, according to Moody’s Investor Service.

A Comcast spokesperson told Philadelphia Magazine on Friday that the company didn’t have a comment on whether it would come back with another offer for Fox.