21st Century Fox’s board also concluded that Disney stock was more valuable and that Disney represented a better strategic fit for Fox assets.
A Comcast spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
As 21st Century Fox was in the throes of discussions with Disney and Comcast in November, the Justice Department sued to block AT&T’s $84.5 billion bid for Time Warner. The union of those two companies would create a content and distribution behemoth — one that Makan Delrahim, the government’s top antitrust regulator, contended would harm consumers and weaken competition. AT&T and Time Warner have aggressively disputed that notion, and a trial is continuing in federal court.
In February, when CNBC and other news outlets reported that Comcast was contemplating reviving its pursuit of 21st Century Fox, analysts questioned such a move, citing the Justice Department’s stance on the AT&T acquisition.
“We believe a Comcast-Fox deal is likely to face much more scrutiny than a Disney-Fox deal,” Kannan Venkateshwar, a Barclays analyst, wrote in a report at the time.
According to the filing, Mr. Murdoch, 21st Century Fox’s executive chairman, and Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chairman and chief executive, first discussed the possibility of a deal at a casual meeting on Aug. 9. Mr. Iger followed up by phone on Aug. 29, and serious discussions continued until Oct. 27, when Mr. Murdoch rejected a Disney offer of roughly $23 a share, 40 percent payable in cash and the remainder in Disney stock.
Disney returned with an improved offer a couple of weeks later, after Comcast had approached Mr. Murdoch. Talks with both companies continued until Dec. 6, when the 21st Century Fox board “directed management to cease discussions” with Comcast and “focus on finalizing negotiations with Disney.”
News credit : Nytimes