The sit-down will take place a week after Comcast threw a wrench in the Walt Disney Company’s plans to purchase the bulk of Fox in a deal valued at $52.4 billion. Comcast had previously tried to buy Fox’s film and television assets, a collection of brands and labels that includes 20th Century Fox, Fox Broadcasting, and FX. However, its offer was rejected over regulatory concerns.
The Fox meeting had been pre-set before Comcast entered its spoiler bid, but recent events mean it will be topic number one at the gathering.
A recent court decision rejecting anti-trust claims and paving the way for AT&T to buy Time Warner has emboldened Comcast to make another run at Fox. At the very least, the media company hopes to drive the price up and force Disney, a chief competitor, to pay more for its prize.
Disney will have an opportunity to sweeten its own offer. As part of its deal with Fox, Disney has the right to make a new bid, and will be given five days to submit a new proposal. That goes into effect after the Fox board formally decides whether or not Comcast’s offer is superior to Disney’s bid.
A deal for Fox’s film and television holdings is potentially transformative. Comcast projected that the combined companies would produce $130 billion in revenue and $40 billion of EBITDA on a pro-forma basis. Those kind of sales would enable the company to tower over media competitors, while giving them more resources to stave off digital challengers such as Netflix and Amazon, who are intent on disrupting old forms of viewing content.
Comcast is trying to get out in front of Fox’s scheduled July 10 vote on the Disney deal. Before Comcast made its offer, shareholders had been scheduled to vote to approve the pact with Disney. Now, Comcast is sending pitch materials to Fox shareholders urging them to vote no on that transaction and making the case for why a sale to Comcast would not be held up by regulators.
A spokesperson from Fox declined to comment. Bloomberg first reported the date of the meeting.