Comcast Mulling New Bid For Fox Assets

Comcast is considering a new offer for Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox assets, despite an agreement in December to sell them to Walt Disney Co for $52.4 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. Comcast’s deliberations indicate that it believes it still has a chance to clinch a deal with Fox, even though its previous bid last year for more than $60 billion was rejected over concerns that regulators worried about media consolidation could thwart it, the sources said.

EC Approves Discovery’s Scripps Acquisition

Discovery Communications said today that the European Commission has cleared its $14.6 billion acquisition of the Food Network and HGTV owner Scripps Network Interactive. The European regulatory body agreed the deal on the condition that Discovery continues to offer third-party distributors the right to broadcast Scripps’ Polish channels TVN24 and/or TVN24 BiS in the country.

Media Megadeals To Watch In 2018

The big deals coming down the pike this year, even as the deals landscape looks more dicey then expected.

Comcast May Consider Bid For Fox Assets

Comcast may consider topping Disney’s bid for Fox, according to people familiar with the matter. No decision has been made by Comcast on a topping bid yet, said the people, who asked not to be named because the decision is private.

NEWS ANALYSIS

Amazon Should Buy CBS. Here’s Why

Combining two media businesses at a time when fewer people are paying for (or watching) TV won’t help either of them, even in the near term. But selling to a tech company like Amazon would allow CBS to more effectively compete with other networks by bidding higher for sports rights — the only content that still keeps mass audiences tied to TV sets — while at the same time getting ahead of TV’s inevitable shift to online distribution.

Service Provider Vubiquity Bought By Amdocs

Multibillion-dollar, multi-national Amdocs has signed a definitive agreement to acquire media service provider Vubiquity. The $224 million cash deal has been approved by both companies’ boards of directors, and is expected to close during the second quarter of the year..

Is Lionsgate’s Chief Finally Ready To Sell?

Jon Feltheimer has for years been a buyer, most recently of Starz, but as Disney and AT&T bulk up and potential suitors swirl, his mini-studio could prove irresistible for a giant like Verizon or even the Murdochs.

Viacom-CBS Plan Takes Shape Amid Tension

Shari Redstone faces a delicate negotiation with CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, who wants to be at the helm of the united company.

CEO: Verizon Has No Big Media M&A Plans

After the rapid pace of media industry consolidation in 2017, companies like Verizon have been pegged as next most likely to go after media M&A. But Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam says not so fast. McAdam admitted that there’s a lot of movement in the space right now but that his company largely ignores any interest.

Fox-Sky Deal Said ‘Not In Public Interest’

The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority issued a preliminary ruling Tuesday that 21st Century Fox’s planned $16.3 billion takeover of satellite service Sky plc isn’t in the public interest because it would give Rupert Murdoch and his family too much control over the country’s news media. The Competition and Markets Authority’s decision will be finalized by May 1, when the regulator will send its report to the secretary of state for culture, media and sport, who will make a final decision on the deal.

Lionsgate Seen As Ripe For Takeover

With CBS and Viacom talking merger again, all eyes are on Lionsgate, which is considered a prime target for acquisition. According to one source, there are already potential suitors — Amazon, Verizon and a CBS-Viacom combination — that have all been sniffing around the company.

NATPE 2018

Tribune’s Wert: Local TV M&A Risks Problems

Tribune Broadcasting president Larry Wert began his appearance on a panel at NATPE’s Station Summit by joking that this would likely be his last time ever at the conference. Technically that could be true — Sinclair Broadcast Group is weeks or even days away from final regulatory approval of its long-anticipated takeover of Tribune. But Wert ended the session on a more serious note, warning of the significant risk that comes with the consolidation wave swallowing up his company.

Viacom-CBS Would Deliver Most Viewers

A merger of Viacom and CBS would lift the combined companies’ stats — earning more total viewership than all major TV-based companies. However, Viacom-CBS would still be behind in other areas, such as national TV advertising revenues and affiliate fees.

Fox Faces Race To Win UK Nod For Sky

As Walt Disney Co.’s own plan to purchase the bulk of Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox looms in the background, the U.K.’s merger watchdog is set to issue provisional findings this week on whether the Sky takeover would give Murdoch too much influence in the U.K. and if Fox upholds broadcasting standards. With a final deadline scheduled for the start of March, Murdoch has little time to address any concerns.

Viacom, CBS Stock Up Amid Merger Talk

Shares in Viacom and CBS jumped Friday after a report that the sibling media companies might be reunited once again. Such a move could give a lift to Viacom, which has been struggling to impress investors. But there are no signs of any imminent announcement. The Wrap reported shortly before the market closed on Friday that “Viacom and CBS vice-chairwoman Shari Redstone is pursuing a merger of the two media companies.” The story cited “multiple insiders.”

CES 2018

Turner, Hulu Execs Talk M&A, Expansion

Hulu CEO Randy Freer signaled that the company could be interested in expanding internationally as it awaits the outcome of the Disney-Fox merger.

Analysts: 40% Chance Apple Will Buy Netflix

Analysts for Citigroup wrote in a research note they believe there’s a 40% chance Apple will buy Netflix with the money it repatriates following the passage of corporate tax reform. Apple could potentially repatriate hundreds of billions of dollars, giving it plenty of wiggle room for a major acquisition like Netflix.

With Disney Deal, Murdoch’s Empire Fractured

Rupert Murdoch’s decision to sell most of 21st Century Fox has many wondering what the future holds for him and the two sons who seemed on the cusp of taking over his vast empire.

NEWS ANALYSIS

The Media M&A Outlook For 2018

In a year defined by deals — Disney-Fox, Discovery-Scripps, Sinclair-Tribune and AT&T’s government-interrupted merger with Time Warner — the biggest question for the media and entertainment sector entering 2018 is: Who’s next?

Dems Call For Hearings On Fox-Disney

Lawmakers on the House and Senate’s top antitrust committee say Congress should take a closer look at Disney’s $52 billion bid to buy 21st Century Fox.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Disney Deal May Be Murdoch’s Last Hurrah

Rather than the foundation of a bold new venture, in his call with analysts yesterday Rupert Murdoch talked about “New Fox” as if it would be a nice annuity for shareholders. He and his sons could surprise me by marshalling their great wealth and launching a new offensive on the media status quo, but I’m not betting on it.

Wall St. Likes: Disney And Fox Shares Rise

Wall Street signaled its approval of the massive Disney-21st Century Fox transaction, sending shares in Disney up 3% and Fox’s up nearly 7% Thursday.

Disney Buys Big Chunk Of Fox In $66.1B Deal

The Walt Disney Co. this morning announced its acquisition of a major portion of 21st Century Fox in a deal that dramatically positions Disney for the future. Before the buyout, 21st Century Fox will separate the Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2 and Big Ten Network into a newly listed company that will be spun off to its shareholders.

For Iger, Fox Deal Is All About TV’s Future

The $50 billion deal, which could be announced this week, would mark a significant turning point in the empire-building career of Fox’s founder and executive chairman, 86-year-old Rupert Murdoch. It would also be a defining moment for Disney and its CEO Robert Iger. It’s just the kind of consolidation media investors have said was long overdue.

Disney-Fox On ‘Glide Path’ For Thurs. Deal

21st Century Fox and Disney are on a “glide path” for a Thursday deal announcement, sources familiar with the deal say. Disney became the sole suitor after Comcast dropped its bid for the majority of Fox assets on Monday.

Disney-Fox Deal May Drive Away Fox Execs

Walt Disney Co.’s planned acquisition of much of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox media company — a deal that is expected to be completed as early as this week — could prompt a brain drain of high-level Fox executives in the coming months.

Disney Deal For Fox Coming Within Days

Walt Disney Co. may announce a deal as soon as this week to acquire a large piece of 21st Century Fox, according to a person familiar with the matter, transferring legendary Hollywood properties to new owners. A trust belonging to Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch and his family would end up with a small stake in Disney in the transaction, the person said.

The 3 Fault Lines Reordering The Media Biz

The duopoly, the FCC and the hunger for scale — these three forces are roiling the news industry, from corporate conglomerates to your hometown daily.

Will Media Deal Making Dethrone Netflix?

Big media struggles with streaming but increased competition will make it harder for Netflix to stay ahead.

PWC STUDY

Media, Entertainment M&A Cool Down In 1Q

Entertainment, media and communications companies aren’t getting hitched at the rate they once did, but when they do hook up, it tends to be a blow-out wedding. The volume of mergers and acquisitions in the sector during the first quarter of 2015 was at its lowest point in two years, with 198 total deals, according to a new report by research and accounting firm PwC. However, the value of those pacts topped $39 billion, representing a 144% increase from the previous quarter.

Sports Driving Pay TV’s Biggest Mergers

AT&T’s bid for DirecTV, and Comcast’s merger with Time Warner Cable, totaling a combined $134 billion, are tied together by a thread that today is driving many of the decisions in the world of pay TV: sports.

DMA 21

St. Louis Has Major Role In Consolidation

The move by Gannett Co. to buy Belo Corp., announced June 13, is among several big changes that will affect the St. Louis television market, leading to changes in oversight and potentially to fewer jobs.

Media M&A Grew 9% In 2011

The mergers and acquisitions marketplace for the media industry saw the total value of deals increase 9% from $43 billion in 2010 to $47 billion in 2011, according to The Jordan, Edmiston Group.  The total number of deals increased 1.7% from 881 to 896.

Skype Buying Group Message System GroupMe

NEW YORK (AP) — Skype is expanding even before it gets absorbed by Microsoft Corp. The online communications service said Monday that it plans to buy GroupMe, which provides group text messaging. Skype lets users make calls, conduct video chats and send instant messages over the Web. Its basic services are free, while users pay […]

Media M&A Activity Up 14%, Publicis Is Leader

Investment banking firm Berkery Noyes released data Wednesday showing M&A activity in the media and marketing sector increased 14% so far this year over the previous six months, while dollars spent soared 68%.The firm said there 644 transactions in the first half of 2011, up from 563 in the back half of 2010, while total value went from $17.3 billion to $28.9 billion.