News Roundup: What AT&T/TW Deal and Disney/Comcast’s Bidding War for Fox Mean for Sports-Media Industry

During the busiest week in recent memory – maybe ever – for major media deals, a federal judge’s decision to rule against the Department of Justice’s attempts to block AT&T’s $85 billion takeover of Time Warner and greenlight the mega-merger created a domino effect throughout the rest of the media industry. The following day Comcast finalized a $65 billion all-cash offer for most of 21st Century Fox’s assets in an attempt to outmaneuver Disney, which reached a $52.4 billion deal in December for the same Fox assets.

These deals are likely to make a monumental impact on the future of the sports-media industry (and especially on regional sports networks), and there is a lot to process. So SVG has created a roundup of some of the most important analysis from the past week:

  • Just two days after U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled against the government’s attempt to block the AT&T/Time Warner megamerger, the two companies officially closed the deal today. (AP)
  • Disney and Comcast’s warring bids for Fox’s assets could face one major regulatory sticking point: Sports. (WSJ)
  • Disney and Comcast have said they are both willing to divest Fox’s local sports networks should regulators require them to do so. (Recode)
  • On the other hand, here’s how Fox’s RSNs could complement both Disney and Comcast if the winner of the bidding battle were to retain them. (AP)
  • And in a new twist to the future of Fox’s RSNs, the NY Yankees are considering buying back YES Network as part of a clause in their deal with Fox that gives the team the right to buy back the network in the event Fox puts it up for sale. (Bloomberg)
  • Ok so, Comcast and Disney would both sell off Fox’s RSNs – but who would buy them? (Fierce Cable)
  • Media mogul and significant Charter Communications stakeholder said he doesn’t plan to consolidate his empire into a vertically integrated content and distribution player any time soon. In addition, he floated the idea that Charter could buy regional sports networks (WSJ)
  • This analysis of who needs the Fox asset more – Disney or Comcast – notes that Fox’s RSNs would give ESPN a huge lift for its nascent streaming service that was launched in April. (The Wrap)
  • And don’t forget that just last week the UK cleared the way for a bidding ware between Comcast and Disney over Sky that will largely be driven by Sky’s valuable sports broadcasting rights (including English Premier League, Formula One, and other sporting events). (NYT)
  • Comcast’s Fox bid has thrown a wrench into Disney’s post-merger plans for leadership and management roles at the new company. (Variety)
  • Here’s what the future of TV in the mobile era could like like following the AT&T-TW merger. (Fortune)
  • Just because the AT&T-Time Warner deal was approved doesn’t mean Comcast’s deal for Fox would pass muster too, giving Disney an advantage. (WSJ)
  • One analyst is floating the idea that Disney and Comcast may end up splitting Fox’s assets in the end. (CNBC)
  • MoffettNathanson principal and senior analyst Craig Moffett downgraded AT&T to “sell” from “neutral” a day after its blockbuster deal to acquire Time Warner was approved. (Multichannel News)
  • Tim Wu is a law professor at Columbia, discusses the the potentially dangerous ‘bigness’ of the AT&T-Time Warner Merger. (NYT)
  • Although the post-megamerger future may bring more digital media options, it’s not likely to bring greater savings – resulting in bigger, not cheaper, cable bundles. (WSJ)
  • NBCU CEO Steve Burke’s memo to his staff says “we are the right home for the fox assets.” (Deadline)

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