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Comcast Says It May Outbid Disney For 21st Century Fox As Battle Over Content Continues

Comcast went public with its plan to outbid Disney for entertainment giant 21st Century Fox as the trend towards consolidation picks up steam for cable and internet providers hungry for content assets.

Comcast confirmed rumors that it may put down a bid for entertainment giant 21st Century Fox on Wednesday when the Philadelphia-based company revealed it's in the "advanced stages" of preparing its all-cash offer for Fox's popular content library.

Disney offered to acquire Fox's entertainment arm for $52.4 billion in December to bolster its core TV and film business. Since then, Comcast has been expected to try to outbid Disney for 21st Century Fox, and the cable giant went public with its intention following Disney's recent filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

"While no final decision has been made, at this point the work to finance the all-cash offer and make the key regulatory filings is well advanced," Comcast said in a statement.

[Related: Comcast CEO: As Company Bids On Pay-TV Provider Sky, The Focus Remains On 'Leading With Broadband']

Comcast hopes its soon-to-be-announced offer will override Disney's bid, which shareholders were expected to vote on this summer. The deal will give the new owner 21st Century Fox's content portfolio, which includes part-ownership of streaming content service provider Hulu.

Cable and internet providers have been scrambling to get a leg-up over digital and streaming content providers, such as Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. AT&T is currently battling the Justice Department over its $85.4 billion planned acquisition of Time Warner. The Dallas-based carrier has said that gaining Time Warner's valuable media properties and streaming services, including CNN, HBO, and HBO Go, will help them better compete against content providers.

The 21st Century Fox acquisition will not include the Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Sports or Fox Broadcasting Company.

This isn't Comcast's first tussle over owning another content provider. In fact, the cable company in April went up against 21st Century Fox for Sky Plc, Britain's largest pay-TV broadcaster. Comcast's formalized $30.7 billion bid, worth 12.50 pounds per share in an all-cash deal, bested Fox’s 10.75 pound per share bid for Sky. Comcast formally notified the European Commission of its intention to acquire the entire issued share capital of Sky plc on May 7.

Comcast, the largest cable provider in the U.S., owns NBCUniversal, a multinational media conglomerate that includes television networks, a motion picture company, TV production operations, and several theme parks.

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