Don’t go counting on the X-Men joining the MCU just yet. While Disney made a $52.4 billion offer to acquire the bulk of 21st Century Fox’s TV and studio assets—including the film studio 20th Century Fox and with that the Marvel properties the studio holds—word surfaced weeks ago that Comcast might try to get in on the action instead. Indeed, Comcast confirmed today it’s making a $65 billion all-cash bid to acquire 21st Century Fox instead of Disney, and thus an official bidding war is now underway.
Comcast obviously owns NBCUniversal, which would bring those properties and projects in contact with 20th Century Fox and the FX cable network if this deal goes through. With Comcast’s courtship official, Disney now has a chance to match or even top Comcast’s offer, but the price just jumped significantly for Disney to make the deal happen.
This all comes in the wake of the news that AT&T has been granted permission to purchase Time Warner for $85.4 billion, and you may be wondering why these massive corporate mergers are underway. Well, at least partially, the problem is Netflix. In May, the streaming giant’s valuation surpassed that of Comcast and had Disney in its sights. The fact that this kind of valuation is possible for a company that is only just producing massive amounts of content is insane. Netflix has no theme park operations or separate TV channels. Netflix is Netflix, and it’s scaring the hell out of the corporate world.
Disney CEO Bob Iger clearly wants to make the Fox acquisition work so his company is better positioned to take Netflix on. Disney plans to launch its own streaming service in 2019, and the added value of Fox’s properties only bolsters its library. Comcast similarly wants Fox to bolster its own library of content, which is why they put in such a sky-high bid.
It’ll be interesting to see how this all shakes out. Fox executives will now convene and discuss what to do next, while Disney has to mull over how much Fox is actually worth to it. Much more is on the line here than simply putting the Fantastic Four into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.