Judge approves AT&T-Time Warner merger without conditions

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Fox shareholders are set to vote on the Disney bid on July 10.

Disney could still wind up with Fox, but it will need to at least match Comcast's bid to do so. But Fox went with Disney because of concerns it would face more regulatory scrutiny with the other company.

The deal, if approved, would merge Comcast-owned Universal Studios and the NBC television network with Hollywood rival 20th Century Fox, Fox's cable entertainment networks and worldwide TV businesses. Cable company Charter chtr has not been involved in any rumored deals lately, and Verizon vz has talked down interest in buying a major media company while selecting for its next CEO an executive with experience in the communications infrastructure business.

Comcast and Disney say Fox would bring original material and worldwide reach that can help them compete. That would be Rupert Murdoch, the largest shareholder of Fox.

As the letter notes, this all-cash offer comes on the heels of the court ruling against the DOJ in AT&T's favor yesterday to proceed with its Time Warner merger.

Comcast said in May it was in advanced stages of preparing a higher all-cash offer for Fox's assets but did not indicate the value of its bid. That's a grand total of $65 billion, which is 19% better than the current Disney offer. Comcast already owns such cable channels as CNBC, Bravo and SyFy.

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When the FCC repealed net neutrality past year, its chairman, Ajit Pai, argued that companies such as Comcast weren't investing in broadband deployment because of uncertainty caused by regulations. It's also $5 billion more than Comcast's own earlier bid of about $60 billion, which Fox rejected, reportedly over suspicion that regulators would forbid the deal from going through.

Fox shares rose 7 percent in afternoon trade.

The move follows AT&T Inc.'s (T.N) victory over the Justice Department in its antitrust battle to take over Time Warner Inc (TWX.N).

Comcast in a statement outlined an offer that was similar to Disney's, including a commitment to the same divestitures. "AT&T and Time Warner concluded that each had a problem the other could solve", he wrote. In 2017, Disney's Buena Vista held a dominant 21.8% of the movie market share, while Universal Pictures held 13.8% with 20th Century Fox at 12%. Like Disney, Comcast is willing to divest Fox's regional sports networks if regulators demand it, according to company filings.

That case was dismissed on Tuesday, giving new impetus to Comcast's proposal and perhaps many more deals like it in the not-too-distant future.

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