Fox Warns That Comcast’s Bid Has Antitrust Risk

Cites Hulu ownership, competing sports networks
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21st Century Fox is telling shareholders that Comcast’s bid for its assets holds a higher risk of being delayed or denied by antitrust regulators than the proposal by The Walt Disney Co., which Fox’s board has endorsed.

Related: Analyst Says Disney Could Outlast Comcast in Fox Fight

Antitrust, merger review

In an SEC filing Tuesday (June 26), Fox said that its board discussed the conclusion of Fox management and its law firm that “a strategic transaction with Comcast continued to carry higher regulatory risk leading to the possibility of significant delay in the receipt of merger consideration as well as the risk of an inability to consummate the transactions.”

The company noted that Comcast had issues when it tried to acquire Time Warner Cable, the upcoming expiration of the consent decree it agreed to when it bought NBC Universal in 2011, the changes in net-neutrality rules, the possibility of Comcast getting control of Hulu, and Comcast’s ownership of regional sports networks that compete with Fox’s.

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The filing said Disney's bid would have a smoother route to closing because of Disney’s mix of businesses and the progress Disney and Fox have already made toward getting regulatory approval for their proposed deal.