James Murdoch Not Moving to Disney If Deal Closes

Fox Jumps on Report That Comcast Is Considering Counterbid to Disney

It is vying with Disney, the $152 billion film, television and theme parks conglomerate, to buy most of 21st Century Fox, the $69 billion media company run by the Murdoch family.

Some of the leading companies and disruptors in movies and television, like Netflix and Amazon, have introduced a new vertical business model that Comcast and Disney are desperate to acquire for themselves - the ability to create and delivery their products directly to the consumer.

Comcast is considering making a play to break up that deal, and has lined up around $60 billion in financing to make an all-cash offer for the Fox assets, the people say. A similar deal underway involving Time Warner and AT&T is now under deliberation by the United States government.

Comcast hasn't yet decided whether to proceed with a hostile bid.

Arguments in the antitrust case against the deal concluded last week, with the judge saying he would announce his ruling on June 12.

More news: Liverpool star Joe Gomez facing devastating Champions League and World Cup blow

Shares in Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox rose overnight on the speculation.

Comcast earlier this year made a bid for European satellite company Sky. But despite Comcast's larger bid, Disney CEO Bob Iger is still confident that the Disney/Fox merger will go through. Inside Disney, a role for him was always seen as uncertain, according to people familiar with the matter.

A venture fund is one of several new opportunities James Murdoch has been considering, some of the people said.

Late Monday, Reuters reported that Comcast was lining up financing to make an all-cash bid for Fox's vaunted TV and movie studio, FX, National Geographic channels, almost two dozen regional sports networks and control of the online streaming service Hulu. Fox's shares are up almost 50 per cent since early October.

Lachlan Murdoch now serves as executive co-chairman of 21st Century Fox. The cable company's chief financial officer, Michael Cavanagh, said on an earnings call late last month that Comcast was unlikely to use its stock to make deals.

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