Disney Ups Offer For Fox Studios

Quentin Webb 
Epic trade-war front page from Apple Daily

Disney's new offer is essentially the same as the first - just with a higher valuation for the Fox assets. Comcast's last bid was for $35 a share in cash.

When Comcast made its bid for Fox last week, CEO Brian Roberts said in a letter to Murdoch and his sons that he is "highly confident" that Comcast will "obtain all necessary regulatory approvals in a timely manner and that our transaction is as or more likely to receive regulatory approval than the Disney transaction".

But Disney countered with the $71 billion deal, a 50-50 split between cash and stock options, that was quickly approved by Fox as being the superior option.

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'. In a statement Wednesday Disney said it is raising its offer because Fox's value increased due to "tax reform and operating improvements".

"This is just the beginning of what is going to be an unbelievable bidding war", Bibb said, although he believes Disney will prevail in the long run.

A Comcast representative declined to comment, but analysts and investors widely expect a counterbid from the largest USA cable company and owner of NBC Universal.

Bloomberg is now reporting the Walt Disney Company's potential purchase of 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets is about to pass antitrust approval from US regulators, according to sources who know about the matter.

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While few people tend to pick sides in the cases of mega mergers, the Disney and Fox case is different for fans of Marvel Studios and superhero movies. But Comcast has also bid to buy all of Sky at £12.50 ($16.46) a share (higher than Fox's proposal of £10.75 a share).

Iger said Disney has been working with regulators in the US and around the world and has "made a lot of progress" toward obtaining approvals.

In pre-market trading, Fox shares rose 5.4% to $47.11, Comcast's were marginally lower, while Disney's rose by 1.3% to $107.50.

The deal would boost Disney's worldwide dominance in the industry and include Fox film and TV studios, as well as some cable networks and global assets.

That court decision paved the way for Comcast's attempt to swipe Fox from Disney.

Following the deal, Fox shareholders would own about 19 percent of the combined company, Disney Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy said on a conference call. 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.

The 21st Century Fox logo is displayed outside the News Corporation building in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., June 15, 2018.

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