Disney Raises Fox Bid to $71 Billion, Dealing Blow to Comcast
Disney Raises Fox Bid to $71 Billion, Dealing Blow to Comcast
Epic trade-war front page from Apple Daily
20 June, 2018, 19:59
Disney has also moved from its original tactic of an all-stock deal for Fox, owner of assets including X-Men to the Deadpool studio 20th Century Fox, and a 39% stake in Sky, to a 50/50 mix of cash and shares. Even though a federal judge resoundingly defeated the government's lawsuit seeking to block the vertical merger of AT&T and Time Warner, the Disney CEO said he still believes a more vertical blend of Comcast (whose holdings include the No. 1 USA cable system) and Fox would face scrutiny.
The move by Walt Disney Co. comes a week after Comcast, the largest United States cable provider and owner of the NBCUniversal group, bid $65 billion for the prized Fox assets being shed by Rupert Murdoch's family empire. Disney originally bid $28 a share back in December. On the TV side some titles they will control include The Simpsons, Family Guy, Legion, American Horror Story, The Orville, NBC's This Is Us and ABC's Modern Family.
21st Century Fox is the next big prize as the media industry consolidates to survive against competitors such as Netflix and Facebook. "We remain convinced that the combination of 21CF's iconic assets, brands and franchises with Disney's will create one of the greatest, most innovative companies in the world", he said in a statement.
The tie-up "is an extremely compelling proposition for consumers that will allow us to create even more appealing high quality content, expand our direct to consumer offerings, an global presence and deliver more exciting and personalized entertainment experiences to meet the growing demands of consumers worldwide", Iger told a conference call.
Fox said it will postpone its special shareholders meeting in order to provide stockholders with an opportunity to evaluate Disney's amended offer. Shareholders would receive the number of shares equating to a $38 price so long as Disney's stock is trading between $93.53 and $114.32 at the deal's close. Elections of cash and stock will be subject to proration to the extent cash or stock is oversubscribed.
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However, there is a conflicting report from Bloomberg that claims that Disney and Fox have agreed on this amount and that their deal is going forward. That would lift the total transaction value above about $85-billion. Disney has secured financing commitments for the cash portion of the acquisition. Shares of Disney rose 1.2 percent to $107.36.
As part of the deal, Disney will acquires 20th Century Fox, Fox's film studio, as well as a cable group that includes FX Networks, National Geographic and several worldwide channels and regional sports networks. The battle for Twenty-First Century Fox reflects a new imperative among entertainment and telecommunications firms.
You can read the full Disney press release HERE and the FOX press release HERE. In a call with analysts, Iger said he believes Disney's bid is superior to Comcast's from a regulatory perspective, and said that six months of dealing with regulators both in the USA and internationally has given Disney a "meaningful head start".
Iger also pointed to regulatory advantages enjoyed by Disney.
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