FOX Accepts Higher Cash Bid From Disney - Dealing A Blow To Comcast

Geraldine Edwards
June 21, 2018

Disney is upping the ante for Fox, making a $70.3 billion counterbid for Fox's entertainment businesses following Comcast's $65 billion offer for the company.

Disney is offering more than $71 billion for Fox's entertainment businesses in a counterbid to Comcast's almost $66 billion offer. Disney's new offer of $38 per share is half cash and half stock. Disney will acquire 21st Century Fox immediately following the spin-off of the businesses comprising "New Fox" as previously announced.

Fox said it will postpone a special shareholders meeting in order to provide stockholders with an opportunity to evaluate Disney's amended offer. In 2017, Disney's Buena Vista held a dominant 21.8% of the movie market share, while 20th Century Fox held 12%.

The latest salvo in the bidding war between Disney and Comcast reflects the frenzied mergers-and-acquisitions climate that is expected to transform the composition of the media universe over the next several months.

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The tussle follows AT&T Inc.'s victory over the U.S. Justice Department in its antitrust battle to take over Time Warner Inc.

The move comes a week after Comcast, the US cable giant, offered $65bn in cash for the assets, which include 20th Century Fox - the Hollywood film studio behind hits such as Avatar, X-Men and Ice Age - US cable TV networks including FX and National Geographic and worldwide pay television assets including Star TV in India. Those will be spun off into a new company.

Disney believes the transaction has a clear and timely path to regulatory approval.

No matter who ends up with Fox, it's going to be bad news for consumers. "Direct-to-consumer distribution has become an even more compelling proposition in the six months since we announced the deal".

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Fox shares rose 5.4 percent, to $47.11, in premarket trading, while Comcast was marginally lower.

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. "There has just been not only a tremendous amount of development in that space, but clearly the consumer is voting-loudly". Comcast's offer was all cash. Comcast, Disney and Fox each own a 30 percent stake in the business, and whoever wins the bid for Fox would own a majority stake.

"I think Comcast would be the most leveraged company ever". Every time it seems as though it's going one way, it goes the other.

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