Takeover battle: Disney/Fox reach $71B deal, blowing away Comcast

Quentin Webb 
Epic trade-war front page from Apple Daily

Quentin Webb Epic trade-war front page from Apple Daily

Disney's previous offer stood at $52.4 billion, and the new offer is better still as Disney plans to to take on about $13.8 billion of Fox's debt, which would bring the total transaction value above $85 billion. It's also roughly $6 billion more than the bid made by rival Comcast last week, which tallied in at around $65 billion (Comcast is the parent company of NBC Universal, which owns SYFY WIRE).

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.

Quoting Bloomberg News, CNBC reported that Disney was nearing U.S. Justice Department approval on the deal.

"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.

The fight for 21st Century Fox comes as traditional media groups scramble to consolidate in the face mounting competition from online challengers like Netflix and Amazon. Disney's latest enticement is worth $71.3 billion in cash and stock - almost $19 billion north of the company's $52.4 billion bid, which Fox accepted last December.

Disney is locked in a battle with United States media conglomerate Comcast, which has offered $65bn in cash for Fox. Disney has a six-month head start on Comcast in terms of regulatory review, which means the deal could close much sooner than it would with Comcast.

Fox said that in light of the new offer tabled by Disney it has concluded that Comcast's bid can not be considered to result in a better deal for shareholders.




'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 approval could clinch Disney's takeover of Fox amid its battle with Comcast for one of the media industry's biggest prizes.

Do you expect Comcast to make a counter-bid?

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.

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. Fox and Disney shareholders had been scheduled to vote on Disney's original bid July 10, but that meeting has been postponed. He cautioned that last week's court ruling allowing AT&T Inc.to buy Time Warner Inc. didn't necessarily pave an easier path for Comcast to buy Fox, noting that even the judge urged people not to apply his decision in that case to other deals.

Under the revised offer, Disney is now offering $38 per Fox share for the assets, up from the previous 28%.

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