Jul 9, 2018

Report: Comcast lining up buyers for Fox's regional sports networks

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Comcast is lining up buyers for 21st Century Fox's regional sports networks (RSNs) in order to ease Fox shareholders' concerns about whether the telecom giant would get the necessary regulatory approval to acquire Fox's entertainment assets, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: It's likely that Comcast is looking to increase its $65 billion bid for Fox's properties to beat Disney's $71 billion counter-offer. Disney has already struck a deal with the Justice Department to divest Fox's RSNs, which earned approval a few weeks ago. 

The bigger picture: The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Comcast is talking to other companies or private-equity investors that could provide additional cash for Comcast to increase its bid for the Fox properties.

  • Sources tell Axios to expect a new bid from Comcast in the mid-$40 per share range in the coming weeks.
  • The sale of RSNs could also free up cash flow for Comcast, which would be taking on significant debt to finance the acquisition.

Fox originally turned down a merger offer from Comcast last year due to regulatory concerns. While Fox executives have perviously vocalized support for a Disney merger, some shareholders have urged Fox leadership to consider a possible higher bid from Comcast.

Go deeper: Why Fox is a must-win for Comcast.

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The new oil-cutting pact will help the market but hardly rescue it

The new OPEC-Russia agreement to steeply cut production should help the oil market avoid a complete meltdown, but it's nowhere near enough to undo the damage from the COVID-19 pandemic, analysts say.

Why it matters: It's the first major coordinated response to the pandemic that's creating an unprecedented collapse in global oil demand and has pushed prices to very low levels.

Premier League players launch fund to help U.K. medical workers

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Premier League players have launched an initiative called #PlayersTogether, which will funnel part of their salaries to the National Health Service to support the U.K.'s front-line workers during the coronavirus crisis.

Why it matters: This decision came at the conclusion of a protracted argument between players, clubs and even government officials over who should bear the brunt of lost revenue in the midst of the pandemic.

GOP worries Trump has only weeks to sharpen coronavirus response

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Republicans are increasingly concerned not only about President Trump’s daily briefings but also his broader plan to ease the nation out of the virus crisis and back to work. This concern is acute — and spreading. 

Why it matters: Trump can easily address the briefing worries by doing fewer, but the lackluster bounce-back planning is what worries Republicans most.