Merger floodgates open after AT&T-Time Warner ruling

Merger floodgates open after AT&T-Time Warner ruling

NEW YORK (AP) — After AT&T-Time Warner comes the deluge.

Comcast bid $65 billion for Fox's entertainment business Wednesday, a day after a federal judge cleared AT&T's $85 billion takeover of Time Warner.

If Comcast succeeds in outbidding Disney for Fox, it would give a major cable distributor control of even more channels on its lineup and those of its rivals. There are fears it could lead to higher cable bills or hinder online alternatives.

But U.S. District Judge Richard Leon cleared the AT&T deal Tuesday despite similar concerns.

Cowen analyst Gregory Williams said the ruling could unleash "pent up" demand for mergers and acquisitions "across the Pay-TV landscape."

Here's a look at some of the proposed combinations that could transform the media landscape.

FOX WITH DISNEY OR COMAST

Disney has made a $52.4 billion all-stock offer for the bulk of Twenty-First Century Fox, including the studios behind the "Avatar" movies, "The Simpsons" and "Modern Family," along with National Geographic. Marvel would get back the characters previously licensed to Fox, reuniting X-Men with the Avengers.

Now Comcast has struck back with a larger $65 billion offer, all in cash. If Comcast succeeds in snapping up Fox, it could diminish the appeal of a planned Disney streaming service, which would heavily feature movies and shows from Marvel and the "Star Wars" franchise.

SPRINT AND T-MOBILE

In April, the two telecom companies announced a $26.5 billion combination. The deal would combine the nation's third- and fourth-largest wireless companies and bulk them up to a similar size to Verizon and AT&T, the industry giants.

The worry is that with just three major carriers, there would be less incentive to innovate on prices and service.

CBS AND VIACOM

CBS has resisted pressure from its controlling shareholder, National Amusements, to merge with Viacom, which also is controlled by National Amusements. The two companies used to be one but separated in 2005.

A combination would reunite CBS's television business with Viacom's production studios.