United States cable operator Comcast Corp has approached investment banks to increase a bridge financing facility by $60 billion to table a rival cash bid for the media assets that Twenty-First Century Fox Inc plans to sell to Walt Disney Co for $52 billion.
Citing three unspecified sources "familiar with the matter", the news agency reports that Comcast CEO Brian Roberts sees an opening if USA federal courts approve AT&T's $85b acquisition of Time Warner to go forward - a ruling is expected on that matter in June.
According to the report, Comcast will only make a move on Fox if AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner is greenlit.
Reuters reports of three separate sources claiming that Comcast Corp. has renewed its interest in buying Fox in the wake of Disney's public attempts. Comcast, Fox and Disney declined to comment.
Comcast at first criticized its powerful stock for a reason for Murdoch to accept a bargain from the greatest U.S. cable provider instead of Disney.
If approved, Disney will gain access to the media conglomerate's many assets, including the film studio 20th Century Fox, known for movies like "The Sound of Music" and "Avatar".
The owner of NBC and Universal Pictures had previously offered Fox at least 16 per cent more for a chunk of its assets than Disney, though regulatory concerns ultimately led Rupert Murdoch to accept the lower bid.
"We still think Comcast will face a stiff fight for Fox and Sky and will likely end up with neither", Jonathan Chaplin, the managing partners New Street Research, said Tuesday".
Obama administration regulators also prevented Comcast from buying Time Warner Cable, saying that Comcast could use its increased size to stifle the competition that online video streaming services pose to cable TV.
Disney has committed to share buybacks as a way of returning cash to Fox shareholders.
The Fox-Sky deal has been held up by concerns about the influence Murdoch could wield over public opinion through owning all of the broadcaster as well as British newspapers the Times and the Sun.
The judge is expected to make a decision by mid-June.