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Analyst: Rupert Murdoch “open to Comcast bid”

Rich Greenfield suggests Murdoch wants to maximise value of 21st Century Fox assets

Rupert Murdoch is open to Comcast’s cash bid for 21st Century Fox’s assets according to an analyst from US firm BTIG Media.

Rich Greenfield said Murdoch and the Fox shareholders are aligned in their interests, and reports that the Fox chairman preferred Disney’s stock to cash offer because the tax implications are “factually incorrect.”

Greenfield cited several unnamed sources as he claimed Murdoch simply wants the best deal, meaning the most value, whether that is cash, or cash and stock.

“This is a real opening for Comcast to come in with a very significant premium bid to where Disney is now,” Greenfield said.

Most analysts, Greenfield included, expect Disney to fight hard for the assets, should Comcast make a formal bid. In an earlier blog post, the BTIG analyst mentioned that losing out on Fox would be almost too much for Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger to bear. But he added Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts is also likely to dig in his heels.

“We have a really hard time seeing Iger ending his career in defeat to Comcast and then simply retiring after the loss (damages his legacy),” Greenfield wrote in the blog post. “On the other hand, we cannot imagine Brian Roberts as an owner losing the last major chess piece on the game board that he covets, especially to Disney. That is not the storybook ending Roberts wants either.”