Thanks to some recent occurrences and a third party’s last-minute bid for Fox’s movie library, the Disney / Fox merger may have gained some unfortunate new competition.
The previous deal-in-the-works was an offer made by Disney to buy out Fox’s Movie and TV properties in exchange for $50.4 billion dollars. The deal was rumored to be making slow but steady progress and was working its way through a number of legal hitches that mergers of this size must undergo. That is until a third party leaped out of their metaphorical seats just before Disney and Fox sealed the deal: Comcast.
Comcast has supposedly made a new bid for the same movie properties: $60 billion, which beats out Disney by a sizable amount, and will definitely put the breaks on any dealings that were in place.
This deal has been closely followed through its lifespan due to its significance for Marvel fans everywhere: Fans have already witnessed Disney’s success with merging Spider-Man into a constantly-expanding cinematic universe, and the possibility of getting a universe for ALL of Marvel’s beloved characters – Including the X-Men, Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer, Doctor Doom, and more – has had fans salivating for some time now.
Back before the launch of Avengers: Infinity War, it was also rumored that the X-Men would be making their debut in Infinity War’s followup film set to release sometime next year. But it appears that those rumors had underestimated how long it would take to complete the current deal, and they surely did not see Comcast’s sudden counter-offer coming.
But the deal hasn’t been sealed yet. Nothing will occur until Fox’s shareholders officially approve of it, and it seems their reasoning for dragging out their approval has now become clear: They now stand to gain an additional $9 billion at a minimum.
Comcast must have some serious dedication to this deal if they are willing to bid up against the commercial titan of Disney, but only time (and many long, drawn-out legal processes) will tell which company is willing to go further to make the magic happen. This all depends on which company has more to gain from this theoretical deal: Will Disney’s completion of the Marvel roster under their filmographic universe outweigh the potential benefits that Comcast sees from running an all-new line of Marvel heroes films? How much does the inclusion of the X-Men and Fantastic Four really mean to the heads of Disney? Or, more complicated still: Will any other companies emerge later down the line and join in on this bidding fiasco?
But Comcast’s ability to stay in this race may also depend on a final outside factor: An ongoing legal battle between the government and AT&T/Time Warner Cable. AT&T and Time Warner have been attempting a merger for some time, but, according to a report on the legal battle by The New York Times, the Justice Department have stepped in to prevent a deal that they believe will harm competition and lead to higher prices for consumers. Meanwhile, AT&T and Time Warner say the merger is necessary in order to create competition with the video distribution giants of Silicon Valley. If the deal goes through, Comcast may stay in the race for the film properties, but if it does not, it is likely that the company’s presence in the bid battle may be short-lived.
At the time of speaking, its anyone’s guess whose deal will win the day, and who will eventually gain control of these rights and characters. These arguments and terms continue to make the slow, plodding progress of massive business money that they have been making for many months now, since the Fox / Disney deal was first rumored, and now that Fox knows they have a second bidder on the line, they will likely drag out any decisions for far longer. This means that the X-Men almost certainly won’t be joining the Avengers for the universe’s second attempt at Thanos coming next year, and their appearance may come quite far down the line, if at all.