Published: Wed, June 20, 2018
Economy | By

Disney making $70.3 billion counterbid for Twenty-First Century Fox

Disney making $70.3 billion counterbid for Twenty-First Century Fox

The improved offer came as 21st Century Fox board was set to decide whether to back Comcast's bid for assets that include Fox's film and television studios and worldwide businesses.

The $38-a-share price is about $10 a share higher than what Disney offered in December - and $3 above Comcast's bid from last week. Both Disney and Comcast are looking to use the Fox assets to bolster their content and expand overseas. Shares of Disney rose 1.3 percent at $107.50.

"Comcast's balance sheet may preclude it from bidding much higher", Sweeney said. The deal will be approximately 50% cash and 50% stock, and debt will be used to partly finance the transaction.

A USA court's recent approval of AT&T's merger with Time Warner raised the likelihood that Comcast's similar proposed deal with Fox would get the green light from regulators, according to analysts. That outcome is expected to spur a wave of media consolidation, emboldening companies to get more aggressive with deals.

The deal would include Fox film and TV studios, some cable networks and worldwide assets, but not Fox News Channel or the Fox television network.

But the two sides aren't vying for all of Fox.

Fox is retaining some of its assets, including Fox News and Fox Broadcasting Company, and rebranding them into a new standalone company that will be run by Murdoch and his son Lachlan.

Fox said it will postpone its special shareholders meeting in order to provide stockholders the opportunity to evaluate Disney's amended offer. But it comes with one key change created to stave off Comcast's all-cash offer: a provision that allows Fox shareholders to decide whether to accept their payment in cash or stock.

Meanwhile, there's a separate - yet intertwined - fight for Sky, the British pay-TV company. In the wake of Judge Richard Leon clearing the $85 billion proffer - effectively allowing AT&T to absorb Time Warner - Comcast unveiled its proposal for the rights to intellectual properties owned by 21st Century Fox - including Deadpool, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men.

In any case, Comcast isn't likely to go away quietly.

"The ball is now in Brian Roberts's court", Sweeney said.

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