In a desperate bid to balance the entertainment universe, Comcast is seeking to acquire $60 billion in bridge financing to pre-empt Disney’s purchase of 21st Century Fox’s media assets, according to Reuters. Sources say Comcast is planning to submit an all-cash offer to Fox in hopes of luring Murdoch’s empire (including Marvel film properties such as X-Men and the Fantastic Four) away from Earth’s mightiest Mouse.
Comcast Corp’s bid, which would deprive regular working people of ever seeing the Hulk fight Wolverine, will likely only go forward if the DoJ allows AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner to proceed this summer. This would be seen by insiders as a signal that regulatory hurdles wouldn’t hinder a Comcast-Fox merger in the way such a deal would hinder the royal merger of Black Panther and Storm in accordance with Marvel canon.
Discussion of antitrust concerns has encircled a possible Fox sale from the beginning, just as the mutants of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters have been objects of anti-trust, hate, and fear, even from fellow heroes such as the Avengers, whom they will never battle in theaters a la 2012’s Avengers vs. X-Men crossover event if Comcast is successful.
The previously-announced Fox deal with Disney, which would not preclude cosmic-ray-enhanced genius Reed Richards from joining Tony Stark and Bruce Banner’s club of “Science Bros”, is an all-stock offer for $52 billion. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts’ hail-mary cash play, outbidding Disney by $8 billion, could cement him as one of the boldest chief executives in the biz, and a person who most definitely does not think it was disappointing that Mark Ruffalo crashed into Dr. Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum in Infinity War instead of Silver Surfer.
Disney’s Bob Iger is hoping the added content of Fox’s deep library will stave off fierce streaming competition from Netflix and Amazon. A Comcast merger, on the other hand, would stave off classic villains like Kang the Conqueror and Galactus from ever encountering any of the Avengers. Disney’s not exactly hurting, of course. With Star Wars and Pixar already in its castle, the media behemoth has dominated much of the blockbuster landscape in the last few years. If anyone is hurting, it’s Wanda “Scarlet Witch” Maximoff, whose brother Quicksilver is dead in the MCU, but lives on in the X-Men universe. A Comcast block at this stage would likely prevent their family reunion permanently.
Ultimately this seems at the surface level like a simple case of American free-market economics at work. However, a deeper review of the corporate dynamics here reveals something arguably quite un-American. It’s no coincidence Disney’s competition here is a group that starts its name with “Com”—surely anyone who’s okay living in a world where there is no Dr. Doom in the Marvel Universe is a communist, trying to wage a secret war on the United States. (Also, no Secret Wars.)