(Reuters) – Twenty First Century Fox Inc’s shares rose 8 percent on Wednesday as an approval for AT&T’s buyout of Time Warner Inc spurred speculation that Comcast Corp would proceed with an offer for most of the media company’s assets.
Comcast’s proposal, widely expected later in the day, will upend Fox’s $52 billion all-stock deal to be bought by Walt Disney.
A federal judge on Tuesday approved AT&T Inc’s $85 billion buyout of Time Warner, clearing the path for more such deals in a rapidly changing media industry.
Shares of other telecom and media companies such as Sprint Corp, CBS Corp and Discovery Inc were all up around 4 percent in premarket trading. Time Warner rose about 5 percent.
“The implications of the ruling are more relevant for other potential vertical deals,” Simon Flannery, analyst at Morgan Stanley said.
AT&T’s stock, however, was down nearly 4 percent, with at least one analyst raising concerns about the debt the company would absorb as part of the deal.
“Time Warner will be a positive for AT&T’s income statement, at least initially. But it will be a negative for the balance sheet,” said research firm Moffett Nathanson’s Craig Moffett, who downgraded the stock to “sell”.
“The new AT&T will carry an astounding $249 billion of debt.”
Reporting by Laharee Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Sweta Singh and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty