Comcast did not detail the exact value of its bid Wednesday, though sources have previously told CNN that the offer would be worth about $60 billion.
Murdoch, who with his family controls 21st Century Fox, agreed to the tie-up in December that would give Disney the Fox studios in Hollywood along with Fox's worldwide TV operations and USA cable entertainment and regional sports channels. After Fox made a takeover offer for the 61 percent stake in Sky that it doesn't already own, Comcast launched a 22 billion pound ($30 billion) counterbid for the business.
Comcast, which owns the NBCUniversal media-entertainment group and is the largest U.S. cable operator, said it was prepared to pay more than Disney for the operations, which don't include Murdoch's Fox News Channel, Fox Broadcasting and major sports channels. Disney wouldn't get all that Fox has to offer, however, as Murdoch would still run the Fox News channel, the Fox broadcast network in the USA, and the FS1 Sports network, as part of a new company spun off from 21st Century Fox.
Comcast said Wednesday that it's in the "advanced stages" of preparing its bid. Comcast shares were down 1.6 percent at $31.97 and Disney shares fell 1.7 percent to $102.26.
It seems Comcast isn't eager to let Disney get their hands on entertainment giant 21st Century Fox.
In a letter to Rupert Murdoch, Hohn revealed an unexpectedly large 7.4% stake in Fox and dismissed regulatory risk that might rise from a Comcast/Fox deal, The Wall Street Journal reports. Now Comcast, the parent company of NBCUniversal, is looking to get back into the fray with an all-cash offer. Disney also is interested in owning Sky. With the acquisition of Fox's broadcast networks, Disney would own numerous local Fox networks that air local baseball and basketball games. At that point, it will come down to which company has the deeper pockets and which one is willing to go the distance.
The only reason Comcast is signaling an offer but not actually making one is that it is waiting on the all-determining decision expected June 12 in the AT&T-Time Warner antitrust case. But if the government successfully shuts down the Time Warner merger, then Fox and Comcast probably won't be joining forces any time soon. Of course, Comcast courted Fox once before, in November, with an all-stock proposal that was actually more generous than Disney's.
Both Disney and Comcast also are looking to expand overseas and offer more content directly to consumers.