Billionaire investor Mario Gabelli: Don’t rule out ‘small possibility’ of another, higher bidder for Fox

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Billionaire media investor Mario Gabelli told CNBC on Wednesday he was “applauding” Comcast’s latest bid for Twenty-First Century Fox on behalf of his clients.

And he believes there’s a chance it may not end there.

“I wouldn’t rule out a small possibility that one of the global behemoths … may come in over the top,” the chairman and CEO of Gamco Investors told “Closing Bell.” His firm owns 9.6 million shares of Fox.

He said his clients “are rooting that the auction, which just started, is going to continue.”

“The notion of a free market system at work is good,” he added.

On Wednesday, Comcast, the parent of CNBC, announced a $65 billion all-cash bid for Fox assets currently in an agreement to be acquired by Disney.

The bid represents a 19 percent premium to Disney’s deal.

In December, Disney agreed to buy the majority of Twenty-First Century Fox for $52.4 billion in stock. The deal included Fox’s movie studios, networks Nat Geo and FX, Asian pay-TV operator Star TV, and stakes in Sky, Endemol Shine Group and Hulu, as well as regional sports networks.

Meanwhile, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said on a conference call with investors that the Fox assets would improve Comcast’s position domestically as well as internationally.

Gabelli said he thinks Comcast has room for another increase in its bid but that Twenty-First Century Fox Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch “would prefer taking a tax-deferred deal.”

Accepting an all-cash offer would have capital gains tax implications.

The bid by Comcast, which has been expected, comes a day after a federal judge approved AT&T‘s $85 billion takeover of Time Warner.

— CNBC’s Alex Sherman and Liz Moyer and Reuters contributed to this report.

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