Rupert Murdoch is reportedly no longer set on selling 21st Century Fox’s assets to Disney for stock, according to BTIG Media & Tech analyst Richard Greenfield during an interview with Cheddar.
Greenfield said this is what the firm is hearing from “several sources” familiar with the matter, in contrast to others who indicated that Murdoch was focused on the agreed upon $52 billion stock deal with Disney because he wants Disney stock and to be a long-term owner, so wasn’t interested in cash.
“We believe that is factually incorrect,” Greenfield said. “And Rupert, like his shareholders, are now fully aligned and simply want the best outcome, whether that’s cash or cash and stock. He wants to maximize value and is not simply focused on Disney.”
Greenfield said he thinks this provides “a real opening” for Comcast. In May, the cable giant said it was in the advanced stages of preparing a premium, all-cash bid, reportedly valued at $60 billion, to trump Disney’s offer for Fox’s entertainment assets.
Speaking to what it would mean for Comcast if it manages to snag Fox’s assets, Greenfield said it would give the company an international footprint, with a “clear path into the U.K., Germany and Italy,” through Sky’s three big markets, Greenfield noted.
“It really makes Comcast/NBC a significantly more global company,” he noted, saying that given the pressures and slowdown facing the U.S. cable business, Comcast is seeking to globally diversify through the deal.
Comcast also wants to increase its content creation, Greenfield said.
“If Disney buys 21st Century Fox, those two assets would be roughly half of U.S. box office, so it really puts Disney into a category that Comcast and Universal would never catch,” he noted. “If Universal, on the other hand, combines with Fox, then you have a real competitor, from a movie standpoint, with Disney.”