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Comcast’s Big Bid Shouldn’t Distract From Regulatory Risks

Eager to journey the Justice Department’s loss to its personal merger victory,


CMCSA -0.19%

shocked no person with a quick, competitive bid for the belongings that

21st Century Fox

FOX 7.48%

has agreed to promote to Walt


DIS 1.90%

At $65 billion, it is doozy of a bid, aimed now not most effective at wooing the Murdochs clear of Disney but additionally at distracting from the regulatory dangers that would include a Comcast deal.

Fox’s problem is not to let that flashy quantity cloud its judgment. With the inventory buying and selling at data, that can take some actual restraint.

If the Murdochs and different Fox shareholders want to sober up for a second, they will have to learn the verdict of Judge

Richard Leon.

The pass judgement on emphatically emphasised (exclamation level and all) that his ruling to approve the merger of


T -6.20%

and Time Warner used to be restricted. “The temptation by some to view this decision as being something more than a resolution of this specific case should be resisted by one and all!” he wrote. Fox and News Corp, writer of The Wall Street Journal, proportion commonplace possession.

There is one more reason to consider carefully concerning the regulatory dangers of a Comcast deal for Fox’s belongings: The Justice Department has stored an in depth eye on Comcast since its merger with NBC, which went thru in 2011 most effective after Comcast agreed to specific conditions.

Those stipulations are set to run out in September, giving Comcast new freedom to run its trade or do offers, a state of affairs that displeases regulators and makes them skeptical of any deal that permits Comcast to swell additional. Though they failed to dam AT&T’s vertical merger with Time Warner, Comcast-Fox could be a unique monster—each vertical and horizontal, elevating issues that AT&T-Time Warner didn’t.

These regulatory dangers play to Disney’s want. The corporate will want to elevate its earlier be offering, a $52.five billion all-stock bid, most probably via sweetening it with money. But since a Disney deal doesn’t lift the similar dangers, it doesn’t want to cross as prime as Comcast.

Still, Comcast received’t cross away quietly. Like a determined suitor, it has introduced to pay Fox’s breakup price with Disney. It would possibly stay elevating its bid to drive Fox right into a deal. That determination may land them each in courtroom.

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