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Fox set to decide on Comcast’s $65-billion cash bid
21 June 2018, 01:47 | Mandy Simon
BUSINESSDisney making $70.3 billion counterbid for Twenty First Century FoxSHARE:sharetweetshareemail
Disney will pay a total of $35.7 billion in cash and give 343 new shares to 21st Century Fox shareholders, which is a 19% stake in Disney on a pro forma basis.
The improved offer came as 21st Century Fox board was set to decide whether to back Comcast'sbid for assets that include Fox's film and television studios and global businesses. The new offer comes just a week after Comcast's $65 billion bid.
Disney's revised offer of $38 a share, which would be split 50-50 in cash and stock, is $10 higher than Disney'sfirst bid in December 2017. Disney, which already owns ESPN and ABC, could also face regulatory scrutiny of its ability to charge high prices for programming.
Granted, even if Fox agrees to a deal, the merger would still be subject to approval by the Federal Trade Commission.
"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 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. Importantly, this also is $6.3 billion more than Comcast's all-cash offer earlier this month.
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".
Disney and Comcast are battling to win Fox's movie and television studios at a time when legacy media and distribution companies are looking to expand to better compete with newer media firms like Netflix that sell their content directly to viewers.
Do you expect Comcast to make a counter-bid? 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. "We remain convinced that the combination of [Fox's] iconic assets, brands and franchises with Disney's will create one of the greatest, most innovative companies in the world".
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.
In midday trading, shares of Fox rallied almost 7 percent to $47.21.
Speaking to analysts on a Wednesday morning conference call, Iger was confident that Disney would prevail over Comcast in the fight to snap up the Fox properties.
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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